Trump Executive Order Unwinds Hospitality Tech Acquisition

Shiji Group COO at Skift Tech Forum 2019 (Source: Skift)

Last Friday, US President Trump signed an executive order forcing Beijing Shiji Group to unwind its acquisition of US-based startup StayNTouch. Trump said the acquisition of the US-based startup might “threaten to impair the national security of the United States.” The order didn’t reveal any further information on the specific nature of the threat.

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Shiji Group acquired StayNTouch in September of 2018 to add to their hotel technology stack. StayNTouch specializes in SaaS hotel management, streamlining data across systems. At the time, Jos Schaap, CEO and Founder of StayNTouch, hailed the deal, specifically detailing his excitement about expanding his company’s technology to more and more hotels.

Following a $486 million investment from Alibaba, Shiji Group, the leading hospitality tech company, positioned StayNTouch as their flagship international service. Shiji Group’s technology is in use in around 29,000 hotels in Europe, and nearly 7,000 hotels in the Asia-Pacific region. Shiji Group also has a significant presence domestically, serving around 60% of China’s luxury properties with enterprise software systems.

Following Trump’s executive order, Shiji Group told Skift, “Beijing Shiji Information Technology is disappointed by today’s Executive Order. We believe President Trump’s decision was incorrect. Shiji is not a threat to US security in any way. The US government did not adequately explain the basis of its decision to us. In fact, Shiji does not access the guest data of StayNTouch Inc.’s customers.”