Airbnb Eyes China As Next Big Market

Airbnb is eyeing a market that’s getting a lot of attention from the on-demand startup world.

Like Uber has discovered, Airbnb is seeing a lot of potential in the massive tourism market that could be the perfect home for Airbnb’s next foray. Speaking at a real estate conference on Tuesday (Oct. 6), CEO Brian Chesky spoke about the company’s plans to move into the East Asian region.

Calling the move the “next level” for Airbnb, he said the company is reviewing “how can we invest and be much more aggressive about the opportunity we have to grow in China,” CNET reported. During that speech, he also recognized that there are regulatory challenges with moving into China and said the company plans to work with everyone to be compliant.

“We cannot be a brand that fights cities,” Chesky said. “We’re trying to find a way to work with everyone.”

Airbnb’s latest funding round was in August when it raised funds from China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China. That funding round gave Airbnb a $25.5 billion value and gave Airbnb’s executive team the confidence to make its next major market move. This includes finding a CEO for Airbnb China who can better grasp the needs of the company from the local economy’s demands.

Airbnb investors acknowledged that the residential lodging company isn’t satisfied with its stunning performance over the last year. In fact, anonymous investors reportedly said that Airbnb executives are shooting for around 80 million nightly bookings by the time 2015 comes to a close.

“It’s a global phenom,” said Keith Rabois, partner at Khosla Ventures. “[It] is going to continue to grow at a substantially higher rate than other businesses.”

Airbnb announced in July that it was also planning to expand its efforts to the world’s second largest continent in order to continue achieving its goal of spreading its hospitality wings. The company recently tapped Nicola D’Elia, Facebook’s former head of international growth, to lead its Middle East and Africa team. While D’Elia is currently housed in London, he will eventually have a staff in Africa to help grow Airbnb’s presence in the region.

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