US home rental giant Airbnb announced today that its China head Ge Hong is leaving the company. The firm didn’t disclose the reasons for his departure. The company’s co-founder and chief strategy officer Nathan Blecharczyk is going to take his place.
Ge was appointed as vice president and China head of Airbnb this April. Along with his appointment comes an adjustment to the company’s business strategy, which places increasing focus on Chinese market. Several moves were taken to localize their services from announcing a Chinese name, expand its Beijing tech team to cooperation with Alipay.
Before Ge’s appointment Airbnb’s progress in Chinese market has been relatively slow. Entering China in August 2015, the position for a China head was kept vacant for around two years. It is a little bit surprising that the firm should make a such a huge shift in senior management in just four months, especially for a market it’s placing more importance.
The adjustment in management is sure to impact the home rental giant’s competition with rising domestic rivals, such as Tujia and Xiaozhu. At present, Airbnb China has over 120k homes listed on its platform. More than 2.5 million customers are using their services, up 287% YOY.