Tujia.com, Airbnb’s equivalent in the China market, denied the rumor of a possible merger on June 1, stating that the two short-term rental service platforms have not been in any form of contact.
In January 2017, Airbnb Inc. negotiated with Tujia, its Chinese competitor, on a possible merger but pulled out at the last minute, as Bloomberg reported. Prior to the rumor last month, Airbnb had already said it does not need any partner in Chinese market.
Opening 50 job vacancies last month and doubling its hiring efforts since the beginning of this year, Airbnb has become more serious abou the Chinese market. The global company has now 150,000 to 200,000 listings in China on its website, an increase of 125% from last year when it adopted a new Chinese name.
Meanwhile, Tujia is now offering on its booking platform 650,000 rentals in China and one million listing around the world after buying the overseas branch of fishtrip.cn, another Chinese tourism self-service platform.
The domestic tourism market is estimated to be 4.57 trillion yuan ($710 billion) in 2017, up 15.9% from the year before, according to the China National Tourism Administration.
In Tujia’s statement, it clarified the company stance, saying Tujia has always had an open attitude toward cooperation with all.
“In China, we are more than twofolds of the second place company in terms of performance and growth, and certainly not afraid of any competition… We currently do not need to cooperate with any institution in the form of a share exchange,” the company stated.
Other Chinese rental service platforms, such as Xiaozhu and Meituan-Dianping, have emerged as key competitors, sharing the regional markets with different rental features and price strategies.
In addition to keeping contesting a larger portion of the local market, Airbnb has been facing continuous crackdowns from authorities in overseas markets such as in Japan. The global rental service company may also see its rentals regulated in U.S. cities such as Boston.