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Airbnb China head calls it quits amid struggle to compete

Startup's co-founder was just named chairman
October 24, 2017 09:10AM

Airbnb China Vice President Hong Ge

Roughly four months after taking the helm of Airbnb’s China business, vice president Hong Ge called it quits.

Ge resigned on Tuesday, just a few days after Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk was named chairman of Airbnb China, the Wall Street Journal reported. It’s not clear if Ge’s resignation was in any way connected to Blecharczyk’s new position.

An Airbnb spokesperson said Ge left to “pursue other opportunities.”

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Airbnb China, which recently changed its name to “Aibiying,” meaning “welcome each other with love,” has struggled to keep up with domestic competitors like Tujia.com and Xiaozhu. Tujia has more than half a million listings spread out across 345 Chinese cities. Meanwhile, Airbnb has just over 120,000, according to the Journal.

Airbnb has also been tripped up by a Chinese rule that requires travelers to register overnight stays with local police. Usually hotels or tour groups take care of this requirement, but the time-consuming task falls to Airbnb guests.

The company now allows guests to pay with the mobile payment system, Alipay, and to book local tours.

Airbnb listed its first unit in China in 2008. Kum Hong Siew, a Singapore-based regional director, will take over for Ge temporarily. [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel