Airbnb is betting big on China, announcing a new name and a hefty investment to cater to the country's growing number of travelers.
China is a huge market and the world's most populated country, yet U.S.-based Airbnb didn't show much interest in China in the past. That's no longer the case, as the home-sharing startup is ready to plunge into the Chinese market with a splash.
Airbnb Chinese Name: 'Welcome Each Other With Love'
Airbnb will adopt the name "Aibiying" in China, which means "welcome each other with love." The company announced on Wednesday, March 22, that it will triple its workforce in the country and double its investment. A hefty marketing campaign will also be in the mix, aiming to promote the venture and the new name in the coming months.
Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, CEO and Head of Community, notes that the company has a number of plans for Chinese travelers (millennials in particular) in need of an alternative travel solution.
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) March 21, 2017
The new name of "Aibiying" (爱彼迎), or "welcome each other with love," mirrors the company's mission to bring people together to reinvent traveling across communities, neighborhoods and borders. Airbnb is also expanding its Trips and Experiences in China and making efforts to bolster its network of more than 3 million listings in more than 190 countries worldwide.
Airbnb China Expansion: Will It Make It?
While Airbnb's move to double down on China efforts sounds exciting, the company will face an uphill battle in the ever-competitive Chinese market. As CNN points out, China already has its own Airbnb-like service called Tujia, which has a major share of the market.
Foreign companies often have a tough time competing against domestic alternatives in China and Tujia will likely give Airbnb a run for its money. Uber, for instance, spent a fortune trying to make it in China and eventually ended up selling its Chinese business to rival Didi Chuxing.
However, Airbnb says it learned from other companies that tried and failed to conquer China. The expansion comes as Airbnb is seen as a good candidate for an initial public offering, but it remains to be seen how things will pan out. Airbnb just secured $1 billion in funding earlier this month and said it has no IPO plans for the near future.
Airbnb vs. Tujia In China
China-based Tujia has a massive share of its home market, boasting more than 430,000 listings in 312 towns and cities across the country. Airbnb, meanwhile, has 80,000 Chinese listings and it forged collaborations with only four big cities. It looks like a fierce challenge from the get-go, but Airbnb's global network and fame could help it get an edge in the competition.
Airbnb can offer greater global accommodation that could appeal to a growing wave of international travelers. Chesky highlights that China is essential to Airbnb's ambitions to connect people from around the world, and this new rebranding and push drives it one step closer to achieving its goals.