| SAN FRANCISCO, March 21
SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 Airbnb, the online
marketplace for short-term lodging, is expanding its business in
China, hoping to spur growth in the world's most populous
country and a major tourist destination.
Fresh off a $1 billion fundraising round, Airbnb announced
plans on Tuesday to expand its services in China and increase
its staff there. Airbnb said it would more than triple its local
workforce this year and double its investment in the region. The
company did not provide specific numbers.
The company has an engineering center in Beijing and about
60 employees in the country.
Airbnb is also bringing its latest product, Trips, which was
unveiled in November, to China. Trips is Airbnb's effort to
expand beyond home and apartment rentals and offer travelers
experiences that expose them to local music, art, food and
traditions. Trips options in Shanghai include learning about
4,000-year-old Chinese folk art and attending a traditional
San Francisco-based Airbnb connects hosts, who want to rent
their homes or a room in their houses or apartments, with
short-term renters who may stay a night or a few weeks. The
company has been locked in a global battle with regulators who
say the service takes affordable housing off the market and
drives up rental prices.
Airbnb has more than 3 million homes listed on its site in
The service has become popular in China, where there are
roughly 80,000 Airbnb listings that have housed nearly 1.6
million travelers, the company said.
Airbnb's recent tranche of $448 million in funding, which
rounded out a $1 billion financing this month, provides new
resources for the company to expand its global footprint. Airbnb
executives told Reuters this month they expected the number of
guests using the home rental service in Africa to double this
year to 1.5 million.
(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Peter Cooney)