SEOUL -- Yanolja, a leading travel and leisure platform in South Korea, has secured a $1.7 billion investment from Softbank, a Tokyo-based holding group that runs Vision Fund, the world's largest technology fund, demonstrating its potential to lead the digital transformation of the global travel and hospitality industry.
Yanolja said it has completed a $1.7 billion investment round by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 that would be used to invest in the development of innovative technologies and expand technology offerings in new markets. The company would build and operate a more advanced global travel platform by enhancing its automated solutions using artificial intelligence and personalized offerings based on big data.
Yanolja CEO Lee Su-jin said the investment would help Yanolja pursue and realize the goal of making the global travel and hospitality market hyperconnected through technology. "We will accelerate digital transformation in this sector as the global leading hospitality tech company and travel super app, by fully leveraging our unique technological capabilities."
Yanolja provides a super app service for travel including accommodation, leisure, and transportation. Globally, the company has focused on the growth and expansion of its cloud-based hospitality solutions business. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decline in travel businesses globally, but Yanolja said it has achieved both net growth and gains in operating profit in 2020, setting a solid foundation for sustainable growth.
In August 2020, Yanolja forged a partnership with Bnetworks, an IoT company in Malaysia, to target Southeast Asia's hotel solutions market with a cloud-based hotel management solution. Yanolja provides interlinked booking services, with its solutions including self-service check-in kiosks and Y FLUX RMS (room management system). Bnetworks was selected as a partner to expand Y FLUX RMS in Southeast Asia.
"Powered by AI, we believe Yanolja is a leader in transforming the travel and leisure industry in South Korea through its Travel Super App approach," SoftBank Investment Advisers' managing partner, Greg Moon, was quoted as saying. In 2020, SoftBank was staring down an $18 billion annual loss led by WeWork and Uber. However, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has made bold investments, raising the size of Vision Fund 2.
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