The China Startup Pulse

The Making of Airbnb’s China Dream with Sean Pan, Head of China Operations at Airbnb

Episode Summary

Many foreign startups have tried to enter China, most have failed, yet a minority have flourished. Airbnb is one of the few living the China Dream, as after only 4 years it is winning the China home-sharing market. In this episode, we invited Sean Pan, Head of China Operations at Airbnb, who has overlooked Airbnb’s transformation in their strategy, management system and branding since 2015, when Airbnb only had 6 people in the China team. As he mentioned, one obstacle confronted by many foreign companies who want to localize in China is the communication problem between the global and China team. How does Airbnb put efforts into that and build up the trust internally? Find the answer in this episode!

Episode Notes

Many foreign startups have tried to enter China, most have failed, yet a minority have flourished. Airbnb is one of the few living the China Dream, as after only 4 years it is winning the China home-sharing market.

In this episode, we invited Sean Pan, Head of China Operations at Airbnb, who has overlooked Airbnb’s transformation in their strategy, management system and branding since 2015, when Airbnb only had 6 people in the China team. As he mentioned, one obstacle confronted by many foreign companies who want to localize in China is the communication problem between the global and China team. How does Airbnb put efforts into that and build up the trust internally? Find the answer in this episode!

Show Notes:
[01:26] Introduction of Sean
[05:33] The Philosophy behind Airbnb’s office in Beijing
[06:30] Building and maintaining Airbnb’s unique Culture in China
[08:09] How to foster commitment to China from global Team?
[12:00] Key finding for Airbnb’s success
[15:38] Managing the relation with head-quarters
[16:12] Evolution of Airbnb’s China strategy
[18:03] Creating a China specific brand
[22:38] Challenge foreign entrepreneurs are facing in China
[26:00] Is there an opportunity for foreign companies in China?

Many thanks to our host Oscar Ramos, guest Sean Pan, editor David and Geep, producer Eva Shi, organizer Chinaccelerator and sponsor People Squared. Be sure to check out our website www.chinaccelerator.com

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Music Credits: Adam Place founder of NUSIC (https://nusic.com.cn/)