With the US-China relations sagging almost to its lowest levels, Global Vacation rental firm Airbnb Inc has started winding up operations in one of its biggest markets in Asia. The company has said that it will shut down all listings and experiences in mainland China from July 30.
The company made the announcement in a letter posted to its official WeChat account addressed to its Chinese users without elaborating on the reasons behind the decision. The San Francisco-based company said Chinese users would still be allowed to book listings and experiences abroad.
“We have made the difficult decision to refocus our efforts in China on outbound travel and suspend our homes and Experiences of Hosts in China, starting from July 30, 2022,” Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb, wrote in the letter.
With this Aribnb joins a long list of Western internet companies including Linkedin and Yahoo that have retreated from China.
Almost all major Western internet platforms including Alphabet Inc’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook have ceased to provide services to end-users in mainland China, citing reasons ranging from censorship to operation difficulties in the country.
Blecharczyk said the decision was difficult and he was proud of what Airbnb had achieved in China. “The decision was not easy for us and I know that it is even more difficult for you,” he said, “We’ve built and grown a thriving Host community in China together and have welcomed more than 25 million guest arrivals since 2016.”
As per media reports, Airbnb would remove about 150,000 listings in China, out of six million it had around the world. Stays in China have accounted for roughly 1% of Airbnb’s business in recent years, according to the reports.