Airbnb adopts Chinese brand name
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 Ctrip.com 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.