Airizu, Rocket Internet’s Airbnb-inspired service that helps Chinese travelers connect to hosts with a room to spare, has apparently shut its doors.
As reported by Sina Tech (h/t Tech in Asia), when users enter Airizu’s URL, they are now directed to Wimdu.cn, another Airbnb-inspired Rocket Internet company. That site, however, operates internationally and just happens to serve China, while Airizu catered exclusively to Chinese customers.
Rocket Internet first launched Airizu in 2011, making it one of the earliest entrants into China’s fledging accommodation-booking space.
However, facing competition from local rivals Xiaozhu and Mayi, and Tujia, Rocket Internet didn’t see their local variant didn’t immediately dominate the market the way other their other projects in Asia had. Last May the company reportedly laid off 80 percent of its staff.
Rocket Internet’s model of replicating American and European success stories in developing markets has helped the company attract lots of funding for its projects in Asia and Latin America. Earlier this summer, Zalora, the company’s Zappo’s-inspired Asian e-commerce platform, raised $100 million, as did Lazada, the company’s Asia-centered Amazon clone.
Of course, regular closures are a part of Rocket Internet’s overall strategy, in which the firm aggressively seeds new projects, and later goes double down on promising ventures while shutting down startups that are slow to pick up speed.
We’ve reached out to Rocket Internet for comment and further details.
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