Why Airbnb is well placed to crack the China market

Its ‘Aibiying’ name change missed the mark but, apart from possible restrictions imposed by government, there may be little to stop the giant from dominating the country’s holiday rental market

Airbnb may have stumbled slightly last week when it rolled out its new strategy for conquering the Chinese market – which included a doubling of its investment there and a flashy new name: Aibiying. This is where the problem lies. The name isn’t easy to say for Mandarin speakers, and many Chinese netizens have reacted negatively.

As one Weibo user put it: “Airbnb has given itself a stupid Chinese name, and even shot an MV (music video) for it. It is just like a foreigner trying to speak poor Chinese.” However, despite the name issue, Airbnb may actually be better positioned than other US tech companies that have tried (and failed) to crack China – most notably Uber.

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