Airbnb experiences rapid growth in China, plans for more

HOME rentals website Airbnb has seen rapid development in China over the past 12 months and seeks to further grow its presence here, a senior executive of the company said. 

HOME rentals website Airbnb, or "Aibiying" in Chinese, has seen rapid development in China over the past 12 months and seeks to further grow its presence here as it becomes increasingly engaged in China, a senior executive of the company said.

Over the last 12 months through August, the US-headquartered hospitality service provider registered close to 5 million Chinese travelers using the platform while taking outbound trips, a year-on-year increase of 125 percent, Chris Lahane, head of global policy and public affairs for Airbnb told local media during a recent visit to Shanghai.

During the same period, guest arrivals by all travelers at Airbnb listings in China — both overseas and domestic — totaled 2.25 million, a surge of 287 percent from the previous 12-month period.

"Airbnb is blessed with incredible growth internationally and China is one of the most important markets for us," Lahane said. "Here we want to be a significant player in outbound travel and also a domestic player with a focus on the niche quality market."

Airbnb is focusing on quality listings to further tap the huge market potential of domestic travel that the majority of Chinese travelers are engaging. For international travelers visiting the country, the company has recently brought its "Trips" and "Experiences" products into China, in order to provide its users with a rich experience beyond just accommodation.

After first tapping into the China market around two years ago, Airbnb now has about 100 employees in the country, and active listings reached about 120,000 by the end of August. In China, which is the only place outside of North America where the company has engineers located, Airbnb offers localized website and payment methods like Alipay.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb currently offers 4 million listings across more than 190 countries, with nearly half of them instantly bookable. Total guest arrivals since 2008 have exceeded 200 million, the company said.

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