Airbnb to close domestic operations in China

Airbnbthe San Francisco-based home rental company said on Tuesday it will shut down its domestic listings and business in mainland China starting July 30.

The news was announced in a letter to Chinese users on the group’s official WeChat account, which said they would still be able to book overseas listings and experiences.

No reason was given for this decision, but many other Western internet platforms have also chosen to shut down their operations and not do business in China.

“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.

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Airbnb joins a long line of Western internet companies, such as LinkedIn and Yahoo, which pulled out of China, a sign of the internet 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’ Facebook, have stopped providing services to end users in mainland China, citing reasons ranging from censorship to operating difficulties 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 announced Airbnb’s decision earlier on Tuesday. The company planned to notify employees nationwide on Tuesday morning in Beijing, she said, adding that all Airbnb listings, homes and experiences in mainland China would be removed by this summer.

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.

• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard


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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd newspapers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before touring South East Asia in the late 1990s. leader of The Nation for over 17 years and has a family in Bangkok.

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