AirBnB hiring data shows it's now very serious about China

6 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in News, Trends

In January 2017, AirBnB ($AIRBNB) was one or two signatures away from merging its then-fledgling China business with local competitor Tujia. The deal fell apart in the final stages, frustrating investors. This served to agitate and embolden Tujia, who have become publicly aggressive.

“We would love to issue shares in Tujia in exchange for Airbnb’s China operations,” Tujia Chief Financial Officer Warren Wang told Bloomberg.

“If Airbnb needs more time to understand that they or any other foreign tech companies just can’t do that well in China without a local partner, once we show them they’ll sit down and talk about a deal,” he added.

These are fighting words for sure, but AirBnB doesn't appear to be razzled by the comment if hiring data tells us anything. Daily open-position data we track for Airbnb shows that the company has doubled its hiring efforts in China since the new year in what is clearly a concerted effort to stake claim in what is estimated to be a $710 billion domestic tourism market.

While competitors like Tujia know the Chinese market much better than Airbnb's largely American executives do, this recent hiring activity indicates that Airbnb is aggressively hiring talent who know the market and can help the company scale out rapidly and efficiently.

Of the 50 Airbnb positions listed in China as of today, 11 are in operations, 8 are in engineering, and 7 are in customer experience. The categorical breakdown of the jobs, in fact, suggests a growing operation in the country as seen in the chart below.

Airbnb job category

Openings (China)

Operations

11

Engineering

8

Customer Experience

7

Product

6

Data Science/Analytics

4

Public Policy

3

Design

3

Employee Experience

2

Marketing/Communications

2

The Art Department

1

Photography

1

Information Technology

1

Talent

1

Airbnb insists that its Chinese business is healthy, doubling the numbed of guests and boosting listings in China by 125 percent to a total of 200,000 listings in just the past year. Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk reportedly travels to China monthly where he oversees a Beijing office staffed by 140 people.

These monthly trips won't last, though, and Blecharczyk told Bloomberg that Airbnb is looking for a leader for its growing Chinese operations.

"I'm sure we'll find a great leader in China," he told them.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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