THIS week, Airbnb has made some significant progress in Asia Pacific.
It includes getting the green light to legally operate in Japan, launching its Trips feature in Singapore and Bangkok as well as getting its hands on funding from a China state-backed investor to boost its valuation.
As one of the pioneers of the sharing economy, Airbnb has not been without its setbacks.
In February, the Singapore government banned homeowners from short-term subletting. Any form of subletting must be longer than six months under the ruling, scuppering Airbnb’s main business model in the country.
According to Property Report, Thailand’s Hotel Act also disallows short-term rentals. In the island resort town of Phuket, 234 registered condo projects were sent letters in July 2016 warning them of a US$557 fine or up to one year of jail time if they violated the law.
Despite these regulatory setbacks, Airbnb has shown a concerted effort to work with the governments of the countries it wants to operate in and more countries are starting to embrace the platform. Last year, Airbnb deleted 1,500 illegal listings in South Korea in an effort to keep in line with local regulations.
As administrations become just a bit more comfortable with Airbnb’s model, homeowners and prospective Airbnb hosts in Asia will probably feel pressure to clean up their act and offer safe, clean, and comfortable accommodation.