Airbnb is big in Japan, and supply can’t keep up

Ronny Kerr · November 27, 2015 · Short URL:

Major tourist cities Paris, New York, and San Francisco remain the company's biggest markets

Where in the world is Airbnb’s fastest growing market?

Japan, according to an interview with Bloomberg.

Demand is outpacing supply, and regulations aren’t helping, says Yasuyuki Tanabe, the country manager of Airbnb Japan. The home sharing company has seen a 529 percent increase in the number of guests renting using the platform, while listings have risen by 373 percent.

We’ve reached out to Airbnb to confirm these figures.

This isn’t just an Airbnb issue, as tourism has skyrocketed in Japan in the past year thanks in part to a weaker yen, whose value has steeply dropped in the past couple years. Bloomberg also says looser visa rules have made it easier for tourists to visit from China and Canada. All these factors combined have made it difficult to find places to stay in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka--Japan’s biggest cities.

Over a half million people have used Airbnb to book lodging in Japan since 2010. In the first half of 2015, hosts in the country collected an aggregate income of 8.8 billion yen, translating to about $71.7 million in today’s exchange rate.

With incredible growth comes great responsibility, as Airbnb has vied to be a partner, not an enemy, to communities where it operates. The company recently released a Community Compact promising as much. What this means for many markets today, at the most basic level, is ensuring that Airbnb pays relevant hotel and tourist taxes.

After first collecting and remitting these taxes in San Francisco and Portland, the company has since confirmed it does the same in Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., Paris, and a few other cities.

Today’s biggest market for Airbnb is Paris, where the company hosts over 40,000 listings. Next come New York City (with 34,000 listings) and London (with 23,000). In San Francisco, the city where Airbnb was founded and is still headquartered, there are only about 5,000 listings.

It was in Paris that Airbnb recently hosted Airbnb Open, an event attended by 5,000 members of the Airbnb community. The company used the stage to launch several new features, including Smart Pricing (helping hosts fluctuate their prices according to demand) and Business Travel Ready (a listing classification for spaces suitable for business travelers).

To help fuel its growth in Japan and other markets around the world, Airbnb is reportedly raising another $100 million round of funding at a $25.5 billion valuation. The company, which has raised almost $2.3 billion over the past five years, is the third most highly valued sharing economy company in the world, after ride-hailing services Uber and Didi Kuaidi.

Though the company does see significant competition from HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace recently acquired by Expedia for $3.9 billion, Airbnb's still the industry heavyweight. Today, HomeAway boasts 1.2 million listings around the world, almost half of Airbnb's two million.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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Joined Vator on is the “Ebay of space.” The online marketplace allows anyone from private residents to commercial properties to rent out their extra space. The reputation-based site allows for user reviews, verification, and online transactions, for which Airbnb takes a commission. As of June, 2009, the San Francisco-based company has listings in over 1062 cities in 76 countries.