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Exclusive: After Dubai, Oyo kicks-off operations in China


SoftBank-backed hotel brand Oyo has launched operations in China. This is the fourth overseas market for the company. Last month, it entered Dubai while the company has presence in Malaysia and Nepal.

Currently, it’s showing seven properties in the largest city of Guangdong Province – Shenzhen. Like India, Oyo offerings in China is affordable and one can book single day accommodation under Rs 1,000 (99 RMB).

The Ritesh Agarwal-led company has partnered China Lodging Group to enter the Chinese market. So far, it has listed a handful of properties (link) only in Shenzhen. However, according to Entrackr sources, the hotel accommodation platform is hunting properties in cities like Beijing and Shanghai too.

Eight months ago, the Gurugram-headquartered company had raised $10 million from China Lodging Group. Following the strategic investment, the group and Oyo signed a five-year memorandum of cooperation in Shanghai.

After raising $250 million from SoftBank and Hero Enterprise, Oyo pivoted from aggregation to a pure-play franchise model in December last year. Presently, OYO claims to operate 8,500 hotels and 70,000 rooms in more than 230 cities in India.

Since its inception in 2013, Oyo had raked in about $442 million risk capital from likes of Softbank, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture and Hero Enterprise amongst others. The company also launched its new vertical Oyo Townhouse for catering the premium mid-market segment in April last year.

After embracing franchise model, Oyo also ended its rivalry with India largest OTA – MakeMyTrip. presently, the former inventories are now listed on the Ctrip-backed horizontal travel platform.

After the revival of a relationship between the two, the Rajesh Magow-led company is also exploring investment for a strategic stake in Oyo.

Besides Oyo, another SoftBank funded ride-hailing Unicorn Ola has been testing the overseas market with operations in Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Paytm, Practo, CarDekho and Droom are other notable startups which have expanded beyond the country.

While we don’t have any idea about the performance of local startups on global fronts, the appetite and aspiration of Indian consumer product companies appear lofty.

In the near future, it would be exciting to watch how the aforementioned companies including Oyo are scaling in global markets.

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