Airbnb Expects African Growth Figures To Double in 2017

Brian Chesky CEO and Co-founder of Airbnb speaks to the Economic Club of New York at a luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange in New York

Airbnb plans to announce Wednesday that it's rebranding its Chinese subsidiary as "Aibiying", which means "welcome each other with love".

Chesky said: "To better serve Chinese travellers, Airbnb will more than triple the size of its local workforce this year and double its investment in the market". After losing $1 billion a year in China, the company finally made a decision to throw in the towel last year, selling its business in the country to its Chinese clone.

The San Francisco-based company already has 80,000 listings within China, which have been visited by nearly 1.6 million guests, according to the company.

China has its own set of successful tech companies, built around cloning platforms of their U.S. counterparts.

Airbnb has tie- ups with various companies in China which has a large customer base like Tencent which is supposed to have 700 million active users across Asia with major part in China.

The firm, valued at $30 billion in a round of fundraising last year, has seen strong growth from Chinese tourists, with outbound travellers from the country staying at its properties globally growing 142% last year, the firm said. China has its own version of many of these types of companies, including social networks, search engines, ride-hailing companies and home rental sites. We hope that Aibiying and our Trips product strikes a chord with them and inspires them to want to travel in a way that opens doors to new people, communities and neighborhoods across the world. Already the company provides 24/7 customer support in Mandarin and has partnered with local payment methods like Alipay and WeChat to help make things easier for Chinese customers.

Airbnb is determined to succeed in China, and a local company name change may just be the way to go.

Like other USA tech giants, Airbnb has struggled in China, where copycats hit the market quickly and have an easier time navigating often burdensome regulations.

In Shanghai, the company is also rolling out its Experiences service, which lets travelers book activities run by local hosts, starting with 10 such activities.

While Airbnb's new focus on the Chinese market addresses some of the concerns about its future in the market, other aspects where it is trailing its domestic rivals remain.

Given that a recent estimate put the value of Airbnb at around $31 billion there's some room for experimentation, but it will be very interesting to see how they fare in their quest to conquer China.



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