Travel culture content provider SanMaoYou secures tens of millions of yuan

Guangzhou-based travel culture content provider SanMaoYou has recently raised tens of millions of yuan in its A-round financing, led by Sogou, 36Kr reported. The investment will be used for expanding its team, developing technology, building channels and augmenting content.

Established in 2015, SanMaoYou has 20 employees and hundreds of freelancers working on content recording, translation and design.

SanMaoYou leverages its proprietary map engine to provide travelers with audio guides based on their locations, very much like they are following a travel guide in person. The scripts, videos and pictures are sourced from tourism administrations, attractions, professional tour guides and books. Freelancers are recruited to produce the audio library. 

The pricing of the guide services is tiered, from five yuan to 150 yuan, based on a set of criteria such as attraction rating, the number of attractions covered, the narrator’s qualifications, the strength of the content and popularity. 

In addition to the tour guide service, SanMaoYou has also launched training courses on history and culture. Mr. Jianxiong Ding, founder and CEO, said young users are the primary target group for this service. The company has now introduced nearly a hundred courses covering culture and arts, history, music and other fields. It plans to cooperate with museums to develop offline courses and study tours in the future.

SanMaoYou has a mix of PGC (professional-generated content), UPGC (user-professional generated content) and UGC (user-generated content) on its platform. The guide service of attractions and museums are generated by professionals. Through a revenue-share mechanism, SanMaoYou also collaborates with 600-plus experts in culture, history and art fields, as well as over 100 professional cultural content producers. Travelers can also post UGC on the platform, making it a diversified social platform. 

SanMaoYou currently has nearly 20 million registered App users and 4 million paying users, who contribute a repurchase rate of 30%. SanMaoYou’s MAU (monthly active user) could reach 2 million in high seasons and 1 million in off-seasons. 

According to Mr. Ding, the tour guide service contributes 70% of its profits, while training courses accounts for 20%, and revenues from B2B customized projects make up the remainder. SanMaoYou reported revenues in excess of 10 million so far this year, compared to 6 million in 2018. The company broke even in early 2018 and has become profitable since. (Translated by Elena)

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