China appears to be the next big frontier for home-sharing giant Airbnb.
Bloomberg reported that the San Francisco-based start-up is significantly increasing its investment in the country, including quadrupling its engineering team over the coming year. The move is part of an attempt to tap into the affluent millennial travel market—a demographic that’s increasingly exploring China.
Technical staff for the home sharing site will expand to more than 100 in Beijing, according to Bloomberg. That’s a significant move given that Beijing already represents the only Airbnb office outside the United States.
The company had also previously announced that it will be doubling its investment in the market and tripling local workers to 300, Bloomberg reported.
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said in a recent interview that the company wants to have local people in charge of its business in China.
“They understand their country the best. Even though we are a global technology platform, they have the technical ability to go and change things,” Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s chief strategy officer, said according to Bloomberg.
The increased China investment is just the latest news for the world’s fourth largest start-up. Earlier this week Business Insider reported that Airbnb now offers more listing that the world’s top five hotel brands, combined. The site offers 4 million listings in 191 countries.
That’s nearly one million more listings than the combined inventory of the top five hotel brands—Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Wyndham Worldwide Corp and Hyatt Hotels Corporation—according to Hotel News Now
The United States remains Airbnb’s biggest market with 660,000 listings. Airbnb has also established substantial markets in France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
As for its China expansion, earlier this year Airbnb appointed a China chief and made clear its intentions to go head to head with domestic market leaders such as Tujia and Xiaozhu.
The company has also begun integrating local payment options and providing 24-7 customer support in Mandarin, according to Bloomberg.