Airbnb’s China Game Plan

Airbnb’s China Game Plan

TMTPost, 2017

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


China is a challenge for Western tech companies. One by one, giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Uber came and went. They all managed to create lucrative markets but were unable to hold onto them and were eventually ousted by complex government regulations and aggressive competitors. Airbnb, on the other hand, has been growing steadily since opening China operations in 2015 and is not showing signs of slowing down. In fact, China is becoming the company’s biggest market and an important experimental playground to test new product ideas. Having spoken to Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, TMTPost reporter Gao Mengyang provides a thorough overview of the company’s recent developments and plans for future growth. getAbstract highly recommends this case study to current and future travelers in China and to managers – especially in the tourism industry – who’d like to find out how to succeed in China.


Airbnb, the peer-to-peer housing rental service, has done exceptionally well in China. In 2017, it had more than 2.25 million active users domestically, representing 287% year-over-year growth. During the same period, the number of active rental listings doubled. Such growth is no easy feat in a country where foreign tech companies typically struggle to integrate locally. Skeptics questioned how Chinese traditions and customs would mesh with Airbnb’s unconventional model and how the company would navigate complex local government regulations.

Airbnb banks on localization to grow in China. It has partnered with city governments and the Chinese Tourism Academy to create tourism plans and has integrated Alipay and WeChat payments – the de-facto payment methods in China. In March 2017, four months after opening its Beijing office, Airbnb announced...

About the Author

Gao Mengyang is a columnist at TMTPost reporting on travel, hospitality, ride-sharing and real estate.

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