In an effort to comply with local laws and regulations in China, Airbnb has announced that it will start sharing information with the Chinese government in a few days. As of March 30, the home sharing company may give Chinese authorities information “without further notice,” BuzzFeed reported.
“Like all businesses operating in China, Airbnb China must comply with local laws and regulations,” a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “We’re committed to doing all we can to keep our hosts and guests informed about our work in China, and we recently updated our hosts about our requirements under the law.”
In order to keep their Chinese listings on the platform, Airbnb hosts were asked to agree to the new policy. An email posted on Twitter showed that Airbnb was giving hosts the option to deactivate their listings in China. Data collection is not new for companies in China: Hotels there have collected similar information “for decades,” Airbnb said.
The news comes a few years after CEO Brian Chesky spoke about the company’s plans to branch into the East Asian region. Calling the move the “next level” for Airbnb in 2015, he had said the company was reviewing “how can we invest and be much more aggressive about the opportunity we have to grow in China,” CNET reported.
At the time, the CEO recognized the regulatory challenges an expansion into China would bring, saying the company planned 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.”
The company raised funds from China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China in 2015. That funding round gave Airbnb a $25.5 billion valuation and its executive team the confidence to make its next major market move, which included finding a CEO for Airbnb China who could grasp the needs of the company in the local economy.