After 6 years of consolidation, Airbnb removes listings in China
CNBC reports that the short-term rental company will maintain a presence in the country to focus on outbound travel from China.
In the same month, he declared a “new world of travel“, Airbnb has reportedly abandoned its attempts to facilitate domestic travel in the world’s most populous country.
Airbnb will end its short-term rental-focused business in China, six years after stepping up its focus in the country, CNBC first reported.
The company will maintain a presence in China to focus on outbound travel for Chinese residents, a person familiar with the decision told Inman, but all listings will be removed by summer.
The move wouldn’t be significant, as bookings in China only accounted for 1% of the company’s business. Yet it marks the end of more than six years of attempts to expand in one of the world’s largest economies.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A person familiar with the decision said the country’s continued strict pandemic-related lockdowns contributed to the decision to focus on the region.
“Airbnb expects outbound tourism from China to rebound as borders reopen and COVID-19 abates,” the person said. “The same applies to cross-border travel throughout the APAC region.”
Airbnb first opened an office in China in 2016. It had long faced much stricter regulatory requirements that made it difficult to compete in the market, according to multiple reports detailing the company’s struggles to hire a manager. from Airbnb China.
It also had to hire local engineers to focus on designing a user experience that meets the needs of Chinese consumers, CNBC Previously reported.
All of this made doing business in the country more expensive ahead of further disruptions due to the pandemic. It confirmed what others had suspected: it can be difficult for American tech companies to compete in China.
In 2017, Chinese media speculated the company would not be able to compete with local competitors.
“Tujia ranks as the main rival in the Chinese market, which boasts a valuation of over US$1 billion, with rivals such as Xiaozhu and Mayi also making China a much more competitive market than what Airbnb faces elsewhere.”
The outlet pointed to Uber’s inability to thrive in the country as evidence that Airbnb may fail to gain a foothold despite its intentions to expand there.
“With some 75,000 property listings in China, Airbnb is also dwarfed by its local competitors – Tujia lists around 500,000 properties in China and has also expanded its pool of listed properties throughout East Asia,” Jing wrote. Daily. “Xiaozhu, although small compared to Tujia, said it expects to achieve 500% organic growth for 2016 and reached over 100,000 listings last year.”
Airbnb was in talks to acquire Xiaozhu, Insider reported in 2016. That deal never closed, and Xiaozhu eventually achieved unicorn status and remained Airbnb’s competitor in the country.
As further evidence of the reaction to the announcement, shares of Airbnb rose after hours after finishing slightly higher for the day.
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