If there’s one indication that a Western company is doing well, it is getting cloned in China. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Quora have all done the rounds. Today, another US website is being cloned in China: AirBnb, the community for wanderlust travelers to browse housing listings ranging from couches, air mattresses, or private rooms.
Airizu is an online rental transaction platform where people who have space to spare can connect with those who are looking for a place to stay. The wonder of it is that it lets users experience the cities they visit in a whole new way by trying unique things and visiting undiscovered places known by locals they stay with. Of course, there’s also the benefit of being cheaper than booking a room in a hotel.
Initially, it will cover major cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Sanya.
Airizu’s website has a remarkable resemblance to the official AirBnB site to the point that it’s actually harder to find differences rather than similarities between the two. Following the popular China strategy “copy now, innovate later”, it seems as though Airizu is still doing the copying and has yet to start the innovating. Cloning Western companies isn’t looked down upon in China. In fact, a couple of clones recently got funding from startup incubator, InnovationWorks.
Like many other localized Chinese businesses, Airizu will have the advantage of having a local team for marketing and operations, and superior knowledge in the domestic market.