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Airbnb Is Going After the Exploding Market of Chinese Travelers

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As China’s middle class is growing, so is its wanderlust. And that’s captured Airbnb’s attention.

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The San Francisco-based accommodations rental site says outbound travel from Chinese guests through its platform has grown 700 percent in the last year, faster than any other market. Travelers from China have stayed with Airbnb hosts in 191 countries.

To cater to that rapidly growing consumer market, Airbnb has partnered with two Chinese venture capital companies -- China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China -- to be sure that, as it moves into the new market more aggressively, it is doing so with cultural literacy, according to a new blog post from Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky.

Related: Airbnb Co-Founder: If Rejection Slows You Down, Entrepreneurship Isn't For You

“While we know companies like ours have incredible opportunities in China, we want to be prudent in establishing our business there,” he wrote. “We want to clearly understand the needs and desires of Chinese travelers going overseas and partner with Chinese companies to create a truly localized platform for these travelers.”

One of the team’s first tasks will be to hire a CEO for Airbnb China.

Related: Sailo Wants to Be Your Airbnb for Yachting

Airbnb will face competition in China from the smaller, local Beijing-based accommodations booking platform Tujia.com. Tujia was valued at more than $1 billion as of its latest funding round. Airbnb is valued at more than $25 billion.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb’s growth both internationally and domestically led the technology platform to close a $1.5 billion funding round earlier this summer, according to fundraising record Crunchbase. The rapidly growing sharing economy platform, which has faced serious regulatory battles and resistance from the hotel industry, had a night this summer with almost 1 million people resting their heads on a pillow found and booked through the platform.

Related: Airbnb Lands in Cuba

Catherine Clifford

Written By

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.