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The Wall Street Journal

May 23, 2022, 8:28 p.m. EDT

Airbnb to close domestic business in China amid continuing lockdowns

Preetika Rana

Airbnb Inc. plans to close its domestic business in China after harsh COVID-19 lockdowns compounded the pain from mounting local competition, according to people familiar with its decision.

Bookings of stays and experiences in China typically account for about 1% of Airbnb’s overall revenue, the people said.

The home-sharing company  is a small competitor in China’s travel industry. It had more than 500,000 active properties through April, according to market-research firm AirDNA, out of its more than 6 million active global listings.

So-called super apps such as Meituan, which delivers food and offers other services including travel, dominate the market and can acquire new customers without spending as much as Airbnb (NAS:ABNB) . This makes them tough to compete with, said the people familiar with Airbnb’s decision.

Harsh and continuing  COVID-19 lockdowns  exacerbated Airbnb’s problems. It was becoming costlier to operate a travel business in China, the people said, and the company decided it wasn’t worth the payout. CNBC earlier reported Airbnb’s plans to exit China.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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