HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, May 24 (Reuters) - Vacation rental
company Airbnb Inc will shut down all listings and
experiences in mainland China from July 30, it said on Tuesday,
joining a long list of Western internet platforms that have
opted out of the Chinese market.
The company made the announcement on its official WeChat
account 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,
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk wrote.
The Global Times newspaper, citing a source close to the
company, said Airbnb had decided to shut the domestic business
because it was too costly and complex to operate, which had been
further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment.
The company joins a long line of Western internet companies,
such as Linkedin and Yahoo, to have retreated from China in
recent months in a sign of an internet decoupling of the worlds
second-largest economy from much of the rest of the world.
Almost all major Western internet platforms, including
Alphabet Incs Google and Meta Platforms Incs
Facebook, have ceased to provide services to end users in
mainland China, citing reasons ranging from censorship to
China's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 has also led
to business disruptions across the country, with several cities
locked down, including the major economic hub of Shanghai.
CNBC first reported Airbnbs decision earlier on Tuesday.
The New York Times reported that 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 Airbnbs
business in recent years, the reports said.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb started providing services in
mainland China in 2015. It had made efforts to localise its
services, including integration with Chinese platforms such as
Tencent Holdings WeChat. Its main Chinese rivals are
Tujia, Xiaozhu and Meituan.
Meituan's vacation rental business Meituan Minsu said on
Tuesday that it has formed a special team to help existing
Airbnb hosts to put up listings on its platform. Tujia made a
similar announcement earlier on the day.
Airbnbs shares gained 0.7% in Monday trading on Nasdaq but
have receded by 1.6% in post-market trading.
(Reporting by Josh Ye in Hong Kong, Brenda Goh in Shanghai and
Ella Cao in Beijing
Editing by Louise Heavens and David Goodman)