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Airbnb Focuses on Southeast Asia, Expands into Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia

While you were sitting in your room doing nothing the past couple of months, Airbnb was busy renting your room to other people, because that’s what they do. And although the company has been a bit slow in coming to Southeast Asia and is running behind some competitors, over the past couple months, the company has made serious moves to expand into the region, expanding operations into Thailand, Indonesia, and most recently Malaysia. As a reflection of this new focus on Southeast Asia, the company has even established a new Asia Pacific division that will be managing these regional operations.

Along with the launches, Airbnb shared some statistics about its progress in each country thus far, and frankly, it’s all pretty impressive. In Thailand as of November there were over 1,300 listings, and hosts were making around $2,000 annually, which is pretty great for supplementary income. The service has also become more popular for Thai people looking to travel abroad; Airbnb says its Thai travelers increased by 270% in 2012.

Indonesia has more than 1,800 listings, with most of them (unsurprisingly) centered around the tourist haven that is Bali. If you’ve got a full apartment to rent out, you can make some real money renting with Airbnb in Indonesia; the company says people who rent full apartments or houses make an average of $5,000 per year. Not too shabby!

Malaysia is Airbnb’s newest addition, and unsurprisingly it has fewer listings (around 800 at the moment) than Indonesia or Thailand. But the company says that travelers from Malaysia using the services are up 350% this year.

At present, there is one big downside to anyone considering listing their property in Southeast Asia: Airbnb’s $1 million host guarantee (which protects hosts in the event that guests cause damage to their space) doesn’t yet cover any Southeast Asian country. But with the company’s increased focus on Southeast Asia, we’re certain that’s something that it will be looking to rectify in the coming months. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Airbnb’s competitors, especially local competitors, respond to the company’s increased focus on Southeast Asian markets.



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