May 23, 2022 - Economy

Airbnb to take down its listings in China

Airbnb logo on a red background

Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Airbnb will remove all Chinese homes and experiences from its platform by mid-summer, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Airbnb’s exit from China, first reported by CNBC, is another example of a U.S. company finding the costs and risks of operating in the Chinese market as outweighing the benefits.

  • Microsoft, which makes less than 2% of its revenue from its business in China, shut down a local version of its LinkedIn app late last year amid censorship pressure.

State of play: Since officially launching China-based listings in 2016, Airbnb has failed to gain popularity.

  • Stays at Airbnb accommodations in China have accounted for about 1% of revenue for the past few years, according to the source.
  • Continuing lockdowns in the country due to COVID have also made it difficult to forecast demand for travel into and around the country for the foreseeable future.
  • Over the past year, Airbnb has also faced scrutiny for promoting tourism in Xinjiang, where the U.S. has declared genocide to be taking place.

What's next: Airbnb intends to maintain an office in Beijing with employees focused on Chinese tourists traveling globally and other global projects, according to the source.

  • An Airbnb spokesperson declined to comment.

The big picture: There is pent-up demand among Chinese tourists to travel outside the country as the pandemic wanes globally, McKinsey noted earlier this year.

  • The opportunity to capture that specific demand has now become the bigger priority for Airbnb than trips inside the country, according to the source familiar with the matter.
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