Airbnb launches China brand name and ambitious growth plans

Airbnb rolls out China brand name as it seeks to grow its business. / Airbnb

Airbnb has unveiled a new Chinese brand name and plans to double its investment in a bid to grow the business in China.

Airbnb China will adopt the name Aibiying 爱彼迎 , which translates as ‘welcome each other with love’, and will launch a “major” marketing campaign in the coming months to generate awareness of the home-sharing brand among China’s 1.4 billion people.

Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky launched the China brand at an event today (Wednesday 22 March) in Shanghai, where he also revealed ambitious plans to double the company's investment in the market as well as more than triple the size of the local workforce.

The moves aim to provide Airbnb with a strong foothold in the China market to ensure it does not suffer a similar fate to Uber. The car-sharing company bowed out of the China market last year after failing to gain traction against its local competitor Didi Chuxing.

Airbnb says it has approximately 80,000 listings in China and has seen nearly 1.6 million guest arrivals at listings within China. It's local competitor Tujia claims to have more than 400,000.

Airbnb is betting on China’s millennials, which it says are, “seeking an alternative way to travel” to grow the business. The company said more than 80% of its users in China are aged under 35, which is more than any other country.

In a bid to appeal to these users, Airbnb is launching its "Trips" feature in Shanghai. The new feature aims to provide users with access to local cultures and places through experiences hosted by local people - such as Chinese folk art classes in Shanghai or truffle hunting in Florence.

The feature is part of the brand’s strategy to move beyond accommodation and offer unique experiences to travellers.

Brian Chesky, CEO, co-founder and head of community at Airbnb, said, “There’s a whole new generation of Chinese travellers who want to see the world in a different way. We hope that Aibiying and our Trips product strikes a chord with them and inspires them to want to travel in a way that opens doors to new people, communities and neighborhoods across the world. I’m really excited about our future here.”

Airbnb has integrated the China site with local services, such as payment app Alipay and WeChat for Mandarin language customer support. The business is also partnering with key tier one cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Guangzhou.

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