American tourism experiences platform Airbnb is laying off about 25% of its workforce as the COVID-19 pandemic halts the travel industry and threatens the company’s core business. Airbnb China has also started the layoff process. Sources said that employees received the email from Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO at 12:00 PM on May 5, before which rumors of a massive layoff had already been spreading among employees.
In a memo to employees released on May 6, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said the company plans to cut nearly 1,900 jobs worldwide, a quarter of its 7,500 employees, to cut expenses.
Airbnb announced two $1 billion funding deals in quick succession just last month. Even so, industry insiders say that with Airbnb seeing a sharp drop in bookings and tight finances, its IPO process is likely to be affected. According to Chesky’s open message, Airbnb’s revenue this year is forecasted to be less than half of that in 2019.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Airbnb has more than 550 employees in China, most of whom are based in Beijing. The source also said the company will start one-on-one meetings with employees starting May 7 and will likely finish the layoff process by the end of this month, downsizing less than 25%.
Airbnb declined to comment on its layoff details in China. The company added that Airbnb is still committed to long-term development in the Chinese market.
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