Airbnb is making a big play for China.
Not only is the home-rental company doubling investments in the country and tripling its local workforce — it’s also got a new name to match.
Airbnb’s Chinese name is Aibiying, meaning to “welcome each other with love.”
The company also announced on Tuesday it’s bringing Trips to Shanghai.
Trips is an Airbnb feature which allows users to find and book local tours and activities while on holiday. It has recently launched in several Asian cities including Delhi, Singapore and Bangkok.
Some of the activities in Shanghai include dough sculpturing and local cooking classes.
“Overall response has been good so far, even friends of mine are asking if they can sign up!” says Vivian Wong, a Shanghai-based host who is offering an Experience in modern Chinese cooking.
“We are frequent Airbnb users, and…while I am not able to share my accommodation, I was really looking forward to [sharing] my slice of Shanghai with travellers.”
But she tells Mashable that Airbnb might still take some time to catch on in China.
“Chinese consumers are still big supporters of traditional accommodation. However the younger generation which are more tech-savvy and bilingual, are definitely more receptive to this concept.”
One word: Millennials
Airbnb currently has some 80,000 listings in China, which have hosted some 1.6 million guests.
More than 8 percent of Airbnb’s users in China are aged under 35 — its biggest proportion of millennials globally.
“There’s a whole new generation of Chinese travelers who want to see the world in a different way,” Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb said in a statement.
“We hope that Aibiying and our Trips product strikes a chord with them.”
And the company is making sure that their product reaches Chinese customers.
It’s started to offer popular local payment methods such as Alipay, while letting Chinese users sign up via their WeChat IDs.
And it’s no wonder why they’re trying so hard — there are already platforms in China that offer services similar to Airbnb’s.
“When Airbnb launched Trips last year, we laughed.”
Zhu Bai Jia, a Shenzhen based-start up, not only offers short-term rentals but helps guests plan entire trips, with hosts often acting as part-time tour guides.
“When Airbnb launched Trips last year, we laughed,” said the spokesperson of Zhu Bai Jia, according to news outlet SCMP.
“The joke in our sector is that ‘China used to copy Silicon Valley, but now it is Silicon Valley that copies China.”