|Sweetome, formerly the offline business of the platform Tujia, |
diversifies its apartment offerings to satisfy different tourist needs
Price is part of the appeal.
The Beijing resident booked a two-bedroom apartment in Osaka for 800 yuan ($127), which is about 200 or 300 yuan cheaper than the neighborhood's economy hotels.
"There's usually a kitchen and washing machine so I can cook and do laundry," he says.
Zhou believes sharing-economy accommodation also enables him to live like locals and interact with interesting people.
Chinese made over 130 million overseas trips last year, 7 percent more than in 2016. Visitors from the world's largest source of outbound travelers spent $115.2 billion, or 5 percent more than in 2016, the China Tourism Academy reports.
A growing number are staying in sharing-economy lodging.
Major Chinese travel-accommodation platform Tujia's trading volumes grew fivefold and available housing grew threefold last year, chief operating officer Yang Changle says.
The platform's overseas business has expanded to offer over 400,000 places to stay in more than 1,000 destinations. The company projects thirty-fold growth in its overseas business this year.
Over half of the 10 million Chinese guest arrivals recorded by United States-based home-sharing service provider Airbnb since 2008 took place last year.
The company also doubled its accommodations in China in 2017, when about 3.3 million inbound travelers used the service. Shanghai, Beijing and Sichuan province's capital, Chengdu, are the most popular destinations.
The trend is partly fueled by the large number of unoccupied dwellings.
China is estimated to have had 70 million unoccupied residences by 2016.
Platforms such as Tujia, Airbnb and Xiaozhu enable people to use these resources.
Sweetome, previously Tujia's offline business, is diversifying its apartment offerings.
It offers properties in cities as well as bungalows and farmsteads.