Today, we announced some operational changes to our terms of service that will help support the Airbnb community around the world. While these modifications are unlikely to change the way you use Airbnb, we want you to know a little more about the changes we’re making today, specifically as they relate to our community in China.

Chinese travelers are an important part of our global community.  To date, there have been more than 3.5 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers at Airbnb listings all over the world. Outbound travel from China grew 500% in 2015 alone, making China one of the fastest growing outbound markets for Airbnb. Along the way, these travelers serve as cultural ambassadors for China, educating their hosts in countries around the world about the Chinese culture.

When these guests return home to China, they often want to extend the same hospitality and become Airbnb hosts or use Airbnb when traveling domestically. While to date we have not focused on building our community in China, we’ve seen more and more Chinese hosts organically sign up to share their space and there have been nearly 1 million guest arrivals at Airbnb listings in China to date. These Chinese Airbnb hosts are using the homes they live in to generate supplemental income.  This is part of a broader trend – more than 500 million Chinese people have participated in the sharing economy in China. The Chinese government has highlighted the important, positive impact the sharing economy can have on China’s economic growth. The annual economic growth rate in the Sharing Economy will be about 40% in the next five years and according to the National Information Center and China Internet Association the Sharing Economy is expected to represent 10 percent of China’s GDP by 2020.

As more and more people begin using Airbnb in China, we’ve been working to update our platform to ensure we can provide better, more localized services to our community. Going forward, if you reside in China, you’ll now formally interact with a new entity — Airbnb China — when you use our platform to both travel and host in China. And consistent with how the traditional hospitality industry handles stays in hotels, information about guest bookings in China and Airbnb listings in the country will be stored by Airbnb China. You can learn more about these changes here.

As we make these changes, we want to underscore our commitment to protecting our hosts’ and guests’ privacy and being fully transparent.  If you reside outside of China and do not have a listing in China, nothing will change for you. If you reside outside China and have existing listings in China, your information related to such listings will only be transferred to, stored, used or processed by Airbnb China upon your acceptance of our revised terms of service. Finally, if you reside outside China and propose to take any action on Airbnb that will lead to your personal information being transferred to, stored, used or processed by Airbnb China, we will notify you of this before any such transfer, storage, use or processing is undertaken.

The steps we’re taking today are part of a series of actions to help welcome more Chinese hosts and guests to the Airbnb community. Over the past several years, we’ve been working thoughtfully and carefully, speaking with local community members about home sharing, and discussing how Airbnb can deliver real benefits to families and communities throughout China. As part of these conversations, we’ve explored and finalized a range of different partnerships that build on the promise of home sharing and support our community and the cities they call home. Some of those include:

  • In Shenzhen, Airbnb and the City of Shenzhen signed a new Memorandum of Understanding. Shenzhen is well-respected for its culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Under the agreement, Airbnb and the City of Shenzen will work together to educate and train the Airbnb community in Shenzhen and encourage entrepreneurship in the city.
  • In Chongqing, Airbnb and the City of Chongqing signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help encourage tourism to one of China’s biggest cities and help support Airbnb’s growing community.  
  • In Guangzhou, Airbnb and the Guangzhou City Deputy Mayor signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help boost tourism in one of China’s largest cities. As part of the partnership, Airbnb and the City of Guangzhou will work together to increase tourism and showcase Guangzhou’s unique culture and tourism attractions to domestic and international visitors.
  • In Shanghai, Airbnb and the Shanghai Pudong District Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help boost the local tourism industry by promoting Shanghai’s one of a kind homes and drive cultural exchange with tourists from all over the world. As part of this partnership, Airbnb will work with the Shanghai FTZ to provide training seminars and guidance to local startups on global entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Airbnb and the Huashou Community Elderly Services Center, a non profit organization associated with China National Committee on Aging (CNCA) have partnered to educate senior citizens about the economic and social benefits of home sharing. Airbnb will provide education and trainings to seniors and introduce them to information about how the sharing economy can help them improve their quality of life and help them connect with travelers. The Huashou Community Elderly Services Center will help promote the use of Airbnb to their members.

In China and around the world, we’ll continue to work in partnership to support home sharing and bring real economic benefits to people and communities.