Airbnb to close domestic China operations starting July 30, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
Vacation rental company Airbnb Inc announced on Tuesday that it will shut down all listings and experiences in mainland China from July 30, joining a long list of Western internet platforms that have pulled out of the Chinese market.
The company made the announcement in a letter posted on its official WeChat account addressed to its Chinese users without giving details on the reasons for the decision. The San Francisco-based company said Chinese users would still be allowed to book overseas listings and experiences.
“We have made the difficult decision to refocus our efforts in China on overseas travel and to suspend our homes and guest experiences in China, effective July 30, 2022,” wrote Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of ‘Airbnb, in the letter.
Aribnb joins a long line of Western internet companies such as Linkedin and Yahoo that have pulled out of China, a sign of the internet’s decoupling from the world’s second-largest economy and much of the rest of the world.
Almost all major Western internet platforms, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook, have stopped providing services to end users in mainland China, citing reasons ranging from censorship to difficulties operating in the country.
Blecharczyk said the decision was difficult and he was proud of what Airbnb had achieved in China.
“The decision wasn’t easy for us and I know it’s even harder for you,” he said. “We have built and grown a thriving host community in China together and have hosted over 25 million guests since 2016.”
CNBC first reported Airbnb’s decision earlier on Tuesday.
The New York Times reported that as part of its retirement, Airbnb would remove about 150,000 listings in China, out of the six million it had worldwide. Stays in China have accounted for about 1% of Airbnb’s business in recent years, according to reports.
Airbnb did not immediately respond to questions sent by Reuters.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb began providing services in mainland China in 2015. It had made efforts to localize its services, including integrating with Chinese platforms like Tencent Holdings’ WeChat. Its main Chinese rivals are Tujia and Xiaozhu.
Airbnb shares gained 0.65% in Monday trading on the Nasdaq but fell 1.59% in post-trade trading.