Airbnb will shut down all listings in mainland China from July 30, 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. The 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.
According to media reports Airbnb decided to shut the domestic business because it was too costly and complex to operate after the covid pandemic.
The company joins a long line of Western internet companies, such as Linkedin and Yahoo, exiting from China in recent months. Almost all major Western internet platforms have ceased to provide services to end users in mainland China, citing censorship and operational difficulties.
China made up only 1% of Airbnb’s revenue over the last few years. The company is expected to instead focus on Chinese residents travelling abroad to other destinations.
Before the pandemic, Chinese travelers heading abroad had tripled in less than a decade according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. However, since 2020 the Asian giant has had some of the toughest covid restrictions in the world, affecting travelers.