SHANGHAI, April 5 (Reuters) - Chinese home-sharing platform Xiaozhu is in talks with its U.S. counterpart Airbnb to cooperate on data and resources in overseas markets such as Japan and South Korea, the China Daily newspaper reported.
Xiaozhu’s chief executive Chen Chi told the newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday that the partnership was also likely to cover China, but talks were in early stages.
“Different from the car-hailing sector, where Chinese player Didi Chuxing competed fiercely against its U.S. rival Uber Technologies Inc. We are more willing to cooperate with each other to grow the industry,” Chen said, referring to the ride-hailing apps which eventually merged in China.
However, he denied media reports that Airbnb was in talks to buy Xiaozhu.
“We want to operate independently. After all, the Chinese market is so huge and we want to get deeply involved in the industry and come up with new innovations,” he said.
Airbnb, which was valued at $30 billion in a round of fundraising in 2016, said last month it would triple its China staff and launch a new Chinese name in a bid to put more focus on the country, where it has about 80,000 homes listed.
Xiaozhu, which is often described as the U.S. company’s Chinese clone, has about 150,000 listings and raised $65 million in its latest fundraising drive in November, the China Daily said.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Richard Pullin