The Chinese travel experience-sharing platform Mafengwo expects to proceed with its plan for a U.S. initial public offering despite a brewing fake-review scandal.
The Beijing-based startup, often called the Chinese version of TripAdvisor, is under fire for allegedly using bots and hired writers to scrape millions of user reviews from rivals such as Ctrip, Meituan-Dianping, Agoda and Yelp. Mafengwo disputed the allegations and sued some of the disseminators.
Mafengwo Vice President Yu Zhuo told Caixin Tuesday at an event in Macao that the incident won’t affect the company’s operations and it expects to list shares on Nasdaq in two to three years.
The company has completed four rounds of financing from investors including General Atlantic, Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings, Chinese private equity firms Ocean Link and Hopu Investment Management, and the Chinese venture capital fund Yuantai Changqing.
The company claims to have 120 million monthly active users and more than 318 million pieces of user-written travel reviews as of the end of August.
The company didn’t respond to Caixin requests for comment on its user and content growth.
In August, Reuters cited anonymous sources in reporting that Mafengwo was looking to raise as much as USD 300 million in a new funding round that could value the business at USD 2 billion to USD 2.5 billion.
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