Chai Jia Jih (aka JJ Chai), managing director of Airbnb, Southeast Asia and India sits down to discuss the story of Airbnb in Asia from how they started in a diverse market and gradually build themselves into one of the important players in travel and hospitality industry. We also discuss the challenges for US companies coming to Asia from payments to regulatory issues, and how they have to adapt and evolve with the local market conditions. Lastly, Jia Jih shares his thoughts on how the sharing economy has evolved in Asia and whether the ownership centric culture in Asia will change in the next decade towards an asset light culture.
Here are the interesting points and links for our discussion:
- The story of Chai Jia Jih (@jjchai) before Airbnb
- The story of Airbnb in Asia
- An introduction of Airbnb, the business model and the concept. Interesting data points from CrunchBase: Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodation around the world. A Y-Combinator startup which has raised $794.8 Million in 6 Rounds from 20 Investors that includes Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, CrunchFund, SV Angel, YCombinator and has about 1-5K employees all across the world. Check out the Airbnb blog as well particularly the engineering section.
- How did JJ joined Airbnb? How did AirBnB Asia start and how has it changed since the first days when it first came to Asia?
- Has there been significant localisation in Asia? If so, what are the interesting adaptations that Airbnb has to improve its service to Asian customers? We touched on payments, internationalisation and also education of local hosts.
- What are the customers demographic for Airbnb coming to Asia like? Are there more non-Asian travelers vs Asian travelers?
- How are the landlords or hosts in Asia? Are there differences in how Airbnb engages them?
- The culture of Airbnb: We hear a lot about the culture of Airbnb. What are the core values?
- How does Airbnb work with the regulatory bodies in the region? Interesting reference: “Why Airbnb’s Asia HQ is in a country where it can’t offer rooms” from the Economic Development Board of Singapore.
- The sharing economy aka collaborative consumption as a market in Asia
- What are his views on the sharing economy market in Asia given your experience with Airbnb? How is the industry growing?
- Will Asia evolve from an ownership centric culture towards an asset light culture i.e. people would choose not to own houses and just rent out from Airbnb?