July 23, 2017

What Airbnb Should Do Differently Than Uber in China

A computer screen shows details of Airbnb page on its web site in Saransk, Russia, on December 12 2015. Selective focus
Copyright: gyddik / 123RF Stock Photo

Unlike in ride-sharing and taxi-hailing, the right services and pricing for home-sharing in China are still unclear. This is the biggest difference between Uber and Airbnb’s situation in China.

When Uber entered China in late 2014, Kuaidi and Didi already had riders in hundreds of cities (mostly through taxi hailing). Didi and Kuaidi had mostly solved the services, features, and “chicken-and-egg” problems. Pricing still wasn’t clear as they were using venture capital money to subsidize drivers, build critical mass and kill off competitors. By the time Uber entered, it was mostly a question of who was going to get to scale first – and achieve a network effect and economies of scale. The services provided were pretty clear.

However, in Chinese home-sharing, this question is still unclear. Market leaders Tujia and Xiaozhu have not gotten big adoption (450,000 listings and 100,000 listings). They have struggled both to get quality listings on their platforms and […]

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