Airbnb is shutting down its services in China as a result of a series of Covid-induced lockdowns in the country. According to a BBC study, house stays in China accounted for only 1% of Airbnb’s earnings over the last few years. According to the source, by the summer, the company’s website will be devoid of any listings for homes and experiences in the country.
The San Francisco-based startup first opened its doors in China six years ago and has since booked approximately 25 million visitor stays in the nation. Prior to the epidemic, the number of Chinese people travelling abroad had more than tripled in less than a decade. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 155 million journeys were made in 2019. China, on the other hand, has had some of the strictest COVID restrictions in the world since 2020, making travel into and out of the country extremely difficult.
This year, when mainland China faced its greatest Covid-19 outbreak in two years, it became even more evident. For more than three weeks in March, mainland China’s COVID-19 case count with symptoms reached 1,000 per day, affecting regions all over the country. According to CNBC, the number of asymptomatic instances was far greater.
Airbnb renamed its Chinese operation Aibiying in 2017, making it easier for Mandarin speakers to pronounce. It was also an attempt to broaden the range of services available.
Airbnb’s decision to shut down its services in China is due to more than just a recent drop in tourists. Even before the pandemic, the domestic rental business for visitors to China was hard and expensive to handle, according to the BBC. According to the report, the company’s guests’ information was submitted to the Chinese government in accordance with local rules and regulations, and the company has faced stiff competition from native Chinese home-rental platforms.