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Airbnb to suspend all housing listings in China from July

After six years, Airbnb decides to shift its focus on the outbound tourism sector in the middle kingdom

Photograph: John Tekeridis via Pexels
Another big news hits the already fragile tourism industry: Airbnb is closing its house-listing business in China, effective from the end of July.

According to an announcement from Airbnb, starting 11am today (Tuesday 24), users will not be able to book any lodgings listed on its China platform Ai Bi Ying (爱彼迎) with a check-in date after July 29. The company will suspend all services related to house listings in China from July 30 and focus instead on the outbound tourism sector.

The San Francisco-based online marketplace for short-term lodging and vocational rentals entered the Chinese market in 2015. According to joint research from the universities of Queensland and Shandong, published in 2019, Airbnb hasn’t been well received in China despite its global success. The research estimated there were only 150,000 listings in China nationwide in 2019. By comparison, one of the major Chinese platform providers, Tujia, had 1,400,000 listings in the same year.

Sources told Ifeng.com that fierce competition between local online platforms and high operating costs have prompted the company’s shift in business focus to outbound tourism. According to Ifeng.com, sources also reveal that Airbnb will retain a team of around one hundred employees at its Beijing headquarter, which Airbnb hasn’t responded to at the time of writing.