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Business

Oyo to launch hotel business in Japan

Indian unicorn announces joint venture with SoftBank

An Oyo hotel in Noida, near New Delhi. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- Indian hotel startup Oyo said on Thursday that it had established a joint venture with SoftBank Corp. to launch a hotel business in Japan.

Oyo labels itself as one of the world's largest hotel chains with more than 500,000 rooms under management. It oversees a network of budget hotels that allows owners to use Oyo's data-driven management system to boost efficiency.

The startup is the biggest of its kind in India and among the top five in China.

The joint venture, OYO Hotels Japan, plans to operate a similar model in Japan, which is dealing with a surge in tourists. Large cities are struggling to cope with rising prices while rural areas face low occupancy rates.

"We will be focused on creating unique hospitality experiences for both domestic and international travelers," said Oyo founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal.

The new business will mark Oyo's second major foray into Japan. Oyo Life, an apartment rental service operated in partnership with Yahoo! Japan, officially launched in late March.

A SoftBank spokesperson declined to comment on the ownership structure or when the hotel service will start. Management will be under Oyo's Prasun Choudhary.

Oyo recently received funding from U.S. home-sharing company Airbnb. SoftBank Group's near $100 billion Vision Fund led a $1 billion funding round for Oyo in 2018, valuing the startup at $5 billion.

SoftBank Corp. -- a mobile network operator and part of the SoftBank Group -- has said that bringing businesses from its Vision Fund portfolio to Japan is one of its key strategies to diversify beyond telecommunications.

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