How Alibaba-Backed Shiji Is Expanding Its Tech Sales to Hotels Outside of China

Shiji, the hospitality tech giant of China, has been expanding its global push since February — when it announced a $486 million investment from e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group.

Shiji, which has 20 foreign subsidiaries, has in the past month acquired StayNTouch, a hotel tech services provider, and Concept Software Systems, a retail tech provider for golf, spa, and other activities. A few months ago, it bought out the remaining shareholders of SnapShot, an analytics dashboard.

Shiji recently disclosed its backing of Kalibri Labs, a data-based hotel revenue consultancy. It has been rumored to have invested in Leonardo, a company that helps hotels manage their visual assets, such as photos of rooms.

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In China, Shiji is responsible for at least 60 percent of the market share for enterprise software services among upscale and international hotels and luxury retailers. About 13,000 Chinese hotels use Shiji-networked systems, including many global brands.

Outside China, about 47,000 properties use products or services from Shiji Group. More than 100,000 hotels worldwide connect to Shiji’s inventory distribution system.

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The company now looks overseas for growth, with the blessing of e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has a 13.07 percent stake.

By the end of this year, Shiji expects to have more than 500 employees outside of China — a headcount that has grown from a negligible number during the past four years.

Analysts following the public company estimate that Shiji will generate about $481 million in revenue for the year through December 30, 2018. That puts it second in hospitality tech sales leadership to Oracle Hospitality, which analysts estimate generated about $1.8 billion in revenue in 2017.

By dollar volume, they are the world’s largest hospitality tech companies.

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