Chinese rental apartment operator CJIA Apartments Group (城家) has secured USD 300 million in Series A round of funding from Boyu Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, according to tech media 36Kr.
Alibaba-affiliated Yunfeng Capital, Huazhu Hotels Group, and CCB International were also involved in the transaction. CJIA, which operates 20,000 apartments across China, will be using the fresh cash to fuel urban properties, branding, channels expansion, and technology. The company has raised USD 50 million in Pre-Series A round of funding from Huazhu and IDG Capital.
It is a record-setting amount of funding in the long-term and centralized apartments market. March, Mofang raised USD 150 million in Series D; Danke, a decentralized brand announced USD 500 million funding meanwhile. Momentum concentrated on top players.
Founded in 2015, CJIA Apartments Group is a joint venture set by Huazhu and IDG. The JV enables Huazhu to make a foray into non-standard accommodation business. It now has over 100 apartments, targeting at tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.
CJIA operates various levels of accommodation. Its CJIA Apartment provides youngsters economic products that are priced at CNY 2,500 (USD 351) to CNY 5,000 (USD 702); Premium brand CJIA Aparthotel Prime costs between CNY 5,000 and CNY 8,000; Serviced apartments targeting at businessmen, such as CJIA CitiGo and Citadines, rent range from CNY 10,000 to CNY 15,000. It started to launch luxury apartments that cost more than CNY 20,000 for one month in Shanghai July.
CJIA’s CEO and Huazhu’s president Jin Hui claimed that the average occupancy rate of apartments for the company’s mature-stage brands has surpassed 95% and every single apartment has started to bring positive margins. The company believed in clearer and growing needs of customers towards quality when choosing apartments. It then built branded and standardized services to suit the needs. Originated from a hotel brand, CJIA’s can establish its product mix that includes long-term and short-term accommodations successfully. Huazhu brings 50% of customers to CJIA, according to the report.
The company added product portfolio further – by utilizing the flexible time of its long-term apartments and creating a new brand called Stay-live as you want. Occupiers can choose to live for several days to months. The company CEO Jin thinks the new niche market has huge growth potential, as still in its nascent stage. CJIA intended to capitalize on the theme and harvested good results till now – 20% of orders come from the business. Smart technology lets the company manage the division well. The company claimed to have the first proprietary CAS system to coordinate long-term and short-term occupancy.
For long-term apartment operators, value is created by the price premium and concierge-type services. In cooperation with several property management entities, the company has closed dozens of important heavy-asset programs in Beijing and Shanghai. Players like CJIA can offer REITs, governments, and property developers with operations experiences and financial channels as property developers are looking forward to raising property income and increasing tenant engagement.
There may be a long-term need to design and offer tenants with elevated service levels and amenities. But CJIA’s top pursuit of safe, convenient, and clean accommodations fit the current stage of long-term apartments market in China enough.