Airbnb will shut down listings in China after two years of lockdowns in the country “with no end in sight,” according to a source familiar with the matter.
The home-sharing company made the decision amid a decline in business in the world’s second-largest economy and “expensive and complex” operating restrictions, compounded by the impact of Covid-19, the source told the company. CNN international last Monday (23).
Starting mid-year, Airbnb will withdraw its listings and offers from experiences hosted in China.
According to the source, Airbnb will not completely stop operations in the country. The company will continue to have an office in Beijing with hundreds of employees who will focus on outbound travelers and global projects.
Multinational companies are feeling a slowdown in China as it remains one of the last places on the planet to follow a “Covid-zero” policy.
In recent weeks, dozens of cities across mainland China have been on lockdown as authorities work to stamp out the coronavirus.
The approach severely affected the economy and disrupted nearly every major line of business, from Big Tech to consumer goods. International brands from Apple to Estée Lauder have warned of the financial impact of the restrictions.
Airbnb launched in China in 2016. As with the rest of the industry, outbound travel by Chinese customers—primarily to other destinations in the Asia-Pacific region—has been a huge opportunity for the company.
That’s because China has historically been the world’s largest market for outbound tourism, accounting for the highest global visitor spending, according to the World Tourism Organization.
But since the pandemic, China has experienced a sharp drop in traffic and has also been closed to most international travelers.
The source said he expects outbound tourism from China to recover once the country fully opens its borders.
Meanwhile, Airbnb’s home business, which has accommodated about 25 million guests since 2016, has accounted for just 1% of the company’s revenue in recent years, the person added.
Source: CNN Brasil
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