China: Tujia co-founder Luo Jun has announced he is stepping down from his CEO role at the Ctrip-backed firm, although he will remain as a company director.
Jun was replaced at the helm of the online vacation rental platform in February by Tujia COO Yang Changle with immediate effect, according to an internal memo from Ctrip chairman James Liang. The online travel service provider is a major shareholder and partner of Tujia.
However, the co-founder will be staying on with Tujia as the CEO of Sweetome, the company’s offline property management spinoff.
Liang wrote in the memo: “On behalf of the board of directors, I sincerely thank Luo Jun for his great contribution in Tujia since its founding. I also congratulate Yang Changle on his promotion.”
Changle previously joined Chinese travel site Qunar.com in 2010 before holding a number of senior positions with the travel platform. In 2015, Ctrip and Qunar agreed on a share swap and business alliance.
Within one year of Changle’s appointment as Tujia COO in October 2016, the vacation rental platform’s business grew by five times in an achievement widely credited to his leadership. In late 2017, Tujia completed a $300 million Ctrip-led series E fund raising at a valuation of over $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Tujia’s booking volume rose further in 2018 as it reached over 1.2 million online global listings. The company said its daily room nights reached 160,000 last year, the highest in China’s short-term property rental sector.
According to local media, Jun and Tujia’s other founders have not been involved in the company’s online business for some time as Jun shifted most of his attention to Sweetome.
Also in October 2016, Tujia entered into a strategic agreement with Ctrip and Qunar to purchase their home-sharing businesses. In doing so, the home-sharing channels of both Ctrip and Qunar’s websites and apps, as well as their operation teams and the entire business, were merged into Tujia.
A year before the Tujia-Ctrip-Qunar partnership, Tujia’s Sweetome section was officially separated from Tujia to improve the company’s offline property management business. The group, led by Jun, said on its website that it currently manages over 40,000 apartments and villas in over 200 locations in China.
Since 2018, the company has engaged in international expansion efforts with its rental management services being operated in countries such as the USA, Greece, Australia and Cambodia.
In March 2018, Sweetome announced it had attracted China Poly Group as a strategic investor in its most recent round of fundraising, which was led independently from Tujia.
For more information, visit the Tujia website here.