Airbnb Comes to South Korea as it Targets East Asia

CTO of Airbnn Joe Gebbia presents the company’s strategy for the company at a press conference in Seoul.

Airbnb has has kicked off plans to strengthen its presence in the East Asia region with a press conference in Seoul announcing its launch in the Korean market. Airbnb CPO Joe Gebbia said that Korea and especially Seoul have shown a particular interest in shared economies, and that people of the world will have a better chance to experience Korea through the service.

Airbnb is a community service which was founded in 2008 and allows users to find unique accommodation or upload their own available space to share with others. The service currently offers personalized accommodation information for 192 countries and as of June last year a total of over 10 million days had been booked through the service. An average of 50,000 people are currently using the service each day.

The company, which creates value by utilizing unused spaces that people own, is part of the ‘shared economy’ trend which has been gaining traction abroad. Korea has also recently seen an increase in similar shared economy startups such as Wisdome, My Real Trip and Open Closet. Gebbia explained that due to the development of internet and mobile technology, users from many areas could connect offline and have great experiences meeting others from around the world. He added that there is enough competitiveness in both the Korean and East Asian markets.

Korea’s explosive growth was one of the reasons that Airbnb selected Korea first, with the number of people using the service in the past year having increased by 275%. Last year travelers from 76 countries including the US, Australia and Hong Kong, booked accommodation in Korea, and 50,000 days in total overseas reservations have been made by Koreans through Airbnb’s service. Gebbia  said that he looked forward to South Korea acting as a hub for the rest of East Asia.

Content in this post was translated from the original Korean article by Jeong Jin-wook at ET News, a media partner of VentureSquare.

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