At Airbnb, our mission is to help create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, and with nearly 1.5 billion people living in China, it’s clear that this country is an important part of our global community. While we know companies like ours have incredible opportunities in China, we want to be prudent in establishing our business there. We want to clearly understand the needs and desires of Chinese travelers going overseas and partner with Chinese companies to create a truly localized platform for these travelers.
China is one of the biggest and fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world. According to the World Tourism Organization, Chinese travelers took 109 million trips in 2014 and Chinese travelers have been the world’s top spenders in international tourism since 2012. We’re seeing this trend on Airbnb as well, with Chinese travelers increasingly coming to Airbnb to tap into our global network of hosts in over 191 countries. In just the past year alone, outbound travel from Chinese guests through Airbnb has grown 700%, making it our fastest growing outbound market.
When we see this growth and hear the stories from our community, it’s clear that Airbnb is uniquely positioned to connect Chinese guests to amazing travel experiences. And as we move into our next phase of expansion in China, we know we will need deep local knowledge and expertise to keep this momentum going.
That’s why we’re excited to announce today that we are bringing on two strategic partners — China Broadband Capital (CBC) and Sequoia China — to help us continue to navigate the China market and create a truly localized presence for the company. One of their first tasks will be to help us recruit a CEO for Airbnb China and build out our team on the ground.
Fortunately, our new partnerships give us access to people who have proven track records in localizing technology for the Chinese market and helping many Chinese internet companies grow and become respected market leaders . Sequoia China’s Neil Shen has deep experience in the Chinese internet and hospitality sectors, having founded the enormously successful Chinese travel site Ctrip.com. CBC’s Edward Tian is also an experienced entrepreneur, having co-founded AsiaInfo, the first Internet technology provider in China.
In addition to Sequoia China and CBC, we are working with a larger group of investors who will contribute to our growth and collaborate with our team in China. With teams of experienced entrepreneurs and accomplished investors, our partners at Hillhouse, Horizon Ventures and GGV Capital all have long track records of helping international startups achieve lasting success in the Chinese market, and we’re incredibly honored to have them all on board.
Just this summer, we had our biggest night ever, with nearly one million people staying on our platform worldwide. By this time next year, we believe we can help more people in China travel through the Airbnb platform for the first time, connecting them to incredible hosts and leaving them with memorable travel experiences from around the world.