Airbnb adopts Chi­nese brand name

New Straits Times - - Business -

SHANG­HAI: Airbnb Inc is show­ing China some love.

The United States home-shar­ing gi­ant is adopt­ing the name “Aibiy­ing ” in China, one that trans­lates as “wel­come each other with love”, as it dou­bles in­vest­ment in the coun­try and triples its lo­cal work­force to serve the world’s largest pop­u­la­tion of trav­ellers.

The startup in­tended to ramp up its Chi­nese busi­ness af­ter more than dou­bling listings in the coun­try to about 80,000 last year, said chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Brian Ch­esky.

This year, it plans to of­fer China cus­tomers its fledg­ling Airbnb Trips ser­vice — a menu of op­tions that can in­clude con­cert tick­ets and restau­rant reser­va­tions.

It’ll be­gin to mar­ket “ex­pe­ri­ences”, a fea­ture that will let vis­i­tors here book lo­cal-led ex­cur­sions, in­clud­ing go­ing be­hind the scenes of a tra­di­tional folk opera and learn­ing about dough fig­urines.

“There’s a whole new gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese trav­ellers who want to see the world in a dif­fer­ent way,” said Ch­esky. “We hope that Aibiy­ing and our Trips prod­uct in­spire them to want to travel in a way that opens doors to new peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bour­hoods across the world.”

Airbnb, last val­ued at more than US$30 bil­lion (RM132.9 bil­lion), was ac­cel­er­at­ing its drive into Asia af­ter re­cently turn­ing prof­itable for the first time, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple close to the com­pany.

Since its start in 2008, the com­pany has raised more than US$3 bil­lion to pur­sue its goal of be­com­ing a full-ser­vice travel com­pany and ex­pand its busi­ness around the world.

But any move within China pits Airbnb against lo­cal leader Tu­jia, which lists more than 450,000 homes and is con­stantly adding more. Its back­ers in­clude In­ter­na­tional Ltd, the world’s sec­ond-largest on­line travel agency, and HomeAway Inc.

China re­mained cru­cial to ful­fill­ing Airbnb’s goal of con­nect­ing peo­ple around the world, Ch­esky added. Bloomberg


Airbnb chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Brian Ch­esky at the launch of Airbnb’s Chi­nese brand name, ‘Aibiy­ing’, in Shang­hai yes­ter­day.

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