Yanolja partners with Rakuten for Japanese foray
[THE INVESTOR] Yanolja, operator of the most popular motel-booking app in Korea, said on March 7 that it would expand its presence in Japan by partnering with an affiliate of e-commerce giant Rakuten.
The partnership with online travel agency Rakuten Lifull Stay is part of Yanolja’s plans to run operations in global markets before its planned debut on the Korean stock exchange in the near future.
Yanolja CEO Lee Su-jin. Lee Sang-sub/The Investor
“Yanolja, which started its operations in a small apartment, recently marked its 13th anniversary, and the beginning of the Japanese business is our first step for global business expansion,” said Lee Su-jin, CEO of the Korean startup, in a media conference at its headquarters in Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Through the collaboration, it will offer travel content, such as data of tourist spots, and accommodation booking services in Korea to the Japanese company, which will in return make its travel services available on the Yanolja platform.
In addition to Japan, the Korean startup said it is in talks with companies in Southeast Asia to launch there in the latter half of this year.
The company, which is reportedly valued at more than 1 trillion won (US$940 billion), has selected some managers to go public before 2020. In 2017, Yanolja’s revenue is said to have exceeded 100 billion won, up 60 percent from a year earlier, but posted an operating loss for the second consecutive year.
Rakuten Lifeful Stay was founded in 2017 jointly by Rakuten and Japanese real estate data firm Lifull.
In line with the Japanese government’s plan to relax accommodation regulations in June for a shared house and a private lodging place, called Minpaku, Rakuten Lifull Stay will launch a shared accommodation service, called Vacation Stay, which will be also available on the Yanolja platform. The Japanese travel firm is partnering with global accommodation booking companies HomeAway of the US, China’s Tujia and AsiaYo! of Taiwan.
The Japanese venture said it aims to introduce a range of affordable accommodation for Korean travelers via the partnership with Yanolja.
“The partners will try to work to foster the accommodation market while abiding by the rules in each nation,” said Munekatsu Ota, CEO of the Japanese firm, adding he hopes the latest team-up can help ease strict regulations on private lodging services.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)