CAPITALAND's wholly owned serviced residence business unit, Ascott, is leading a consortium to invest S$67.69 million in Tujia, an online apartment sharing platform which has been dubbed as the Chinese equivalent of US home-rental website Airbnb.
Ascott will also form a joint venture with Tujia with an initial capital of S$54.15 million. As part of its joint venture with Tujia, Ascott will operate serviced apartments located within the key growth cities of China using a new brand. These will include newly sourced properties and Tujia's serviced apartments in China that are deemed suitable for conversion, and will provide Ascott with a pipeline of apartments units to expand its portfolio in China where it targets to achieve 20,000 units by 2020.
Separately, CapitaLand has formed a new Technology Council to boost its digital efforts to drive its real estate business. The council members are notable venture capitalists Foo Jixun, managing partner of GGV Capital, and David Su, managing partner of Matrix Partners China, both of whom have strong tech focus; as well as Gabriel Lim, CEO of the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand, said: "CapitaLand's technology drive is part of the Group's efforts to sharpen our customer-centric focus to develop real estate of the future - integrated and interconnected smart communities through smart buildings as well as seamless online and offline customer experiences. We are privileged to have stellar tech visionaries join us in the CapitaLand Technology Council.
"With the wealth of experience and fresh perspectives of the council members, CapitaLand will gain much insight on using digital technology to decode the art of human needs and wants, so that we can create smart buildings for smart customers."
The total sum of S$120m is not invested by CapitaLand alone, it is contributed by CapitaLand (Ascott) and a consortium of investors.