Airbnb will quadruple its China tech team to target millennials
Airbnb is ramping up its investment in China, quadrupling its engineering team over the next 12 months to focus on affluent millennials in China.
Airbnb will grow its technical cohort to more than 100 in Beijing — the only office outside the U.S. where the home-sharing giant employs an engineering division, according to co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk. That move, part of a previously announced doubling in investment and tripling in local workers to 300, will help it tailor a re-launched service for some 400 million younger people acquiring a taste for independent travel, he added.
After years of feeling out the market, the world’s fourth-largest startup in 2017 appointed a Chinese chief and declared its intention to take on domestic market leaders such as Tujia and Xiaozhu. The company, which counts China’s sovereign wealth fund among its investors, is wooing a young middle class by adopting the moniker “Aibiying” (welcome each other with love), integrating local payment options and providing 24-7 customer support in Mandarin.
Domestic travel within the nation now accounts for almost half of its business there, he said. It currently lists 100,000 homes, still well behind sector leaders such as Tujia. Airbnb however has handled more than 5.3 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers at its listings around the world. Outbound travel from China — the world’s biggest source of international tourists — grew 142 percent in 2016.
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