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Airbnb China head exits after four months

Airbnb’s global vice-president and head of China, Ge Hong(葛宏), is leaving the business after just four months in the post to join another unnamed role.

Airbnb’s regional director for Asia Pacific Kum Hong Siew will take over from Ge as the company searches for another executive to run operations in China.

A graduate of Yale University with a masters degree in computer science, Ge joined Airbnb China last year as head of product and engineering, and was promoted to the highest-ranking executive at the company in June.

He has previously worked in software engineering roles at Facebook and Google. His LinkedIn profile lists Beijing as his current location.

According to Bloomberg, Airbnb had been looking for a business chief for China since 2015, before finally promoting Ge from within.

Read more: Airbnb names China chief to tackle local rival

Yet on October 21, the company’s chief executive officer Brian Chesky first announced in an internal email that Ge Hong is stepping down “to pursue opportunities outside of Airbnb.”

This was then followed by another email from Ge to his colleagues, which reflected on Airbnb’s quick pace of expansion in past months, as well as shared his comments on leaving.

“It’s a very tough decision for me to leave behind all of what we have built together. But hey, it’s a small world. I will still be in the Internet industry,” he wrote. “I’m sure our paths will cross again in the future.” However, Ge did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving.

It’s a very tough decision for me to leave behind all of what we have built together. But hey, it’s a small world. I will still be in the Internet industry.

Ge’s announcement to leave the company follows Chinese authorities’ actions to ban bookings on all short-term rental platforms in central Beijing during the 19th congress to tighten security around the political event.

It also follows the announcement of Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall departure from the firm on 20 October.

Read more: Airbnb CMO exit: Why CEOs need to be involved in marketing

Ge’s email stated that Airbnb’s offices have grown from 30 people to more than 120 in Parkview Green in Beijing, while total listings had doubled from 70,000 to 140,000 within a year. Ge pointed out that Airbnb’s on track to double room-nights of Chinese origin to 8 million in 2017, and that his team reduced instances of fraud from over 8% of gross bookings to less than 2%.

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