Airbnb sees more room for growth in home-sharing in the next decade
Home-sharing is booming in China, which made 16.5 billion yuan £¨about 2.39 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue last year, accounting for over 6 percent of the entire accommodation market in China.
Hospitality major Airbnb believes that the home-sharing sector is still in its early stage with a vast room for development in the next decade, according to Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb.
'It is still relatively early days. I think the next ten years will bring a lot more growth, more change and more innovation,' Blecharczyk said.
The co-founder predicted that home-sharing would play a significant role in economic growth in the future.
'Government has basically identified sharing economy as a very important feature in China. Some estimated that five years from now, that could be 20 percent of the economy,' he noted.
Since the launch of its business model in 2007, Airbnb has helped people, who host travelers, to earn 65 billion U.S. dollars. The model is now active in 191 countries and over 81,000 cities worldwide. In the meantime, Airbnb has also become one of the top choices for Chinese travelers, especially millennials.
The company attributed its last year's growth in China to a surge in domestic travel. 'Our initial focus was on offering outbound travel options to Chinese travelers. But now most of our business is domestic– Chinese traveling within China,' Blecharczyk said.
In addition to traditional first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Airbnb is becoming more popular among millennials from second- and third-tier cities.
'Just in the first quarter of 2019, we have seen more than 200 percent growth. Second- and third-tier cities are the fastest-growing segments. We are very happy with the progress,' he said.
The co-founder said that the regulatory framework should be in place to enhance further growth.
'There are a lot of good dialogues where all industry companies give their inputs on these policies. Last year, we worked with China's State Information Center to provide important comments and the work goes on. I think a carefully crafted regulation would make a lot of sense and allow for the next wave of growth and serve everyone's interests,' Blecharczyk said.
He projected that technologies like digital identity, fintech and artificial intelligence (AI), would help reshape the future of the home-sharing industry.
'Digital identity has already got better in the past ten years. The stronger sense of digital identity is already a trend but there is still room for improvement in terms of knowing someone's true digital identity. That's necessary for creating trust. It's really important for sharing, doing e-commerce, so digital identity will continue to improve,' he told CGTN.
Blecharczyk further explained that fintech could be integrated into the business model more, and AI would help make 'a more intelligent recommendation.'
(Source : CGTN News£©