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China's Airbnb Xiaozhu to Test Facial Recognition-enabled Smart Lock and Blacklisting, Addressing the Safety Concerns
COVID-19 and China

Dec 25, Xiaozhu(小猪短租)announced it rolled out a series of practices and adoptions to address safety issues including facial recognition-enabled smart locks to verify users' identification, burglar alarms and public safety education for landlords, etc. in the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu, reported by iResearch.

Xiaozhu is also set to establish a blacklist of tenants who misbehave during their stay at hosts' homes and aims to push players in the industry involved in it as well.

Tujia(途家), Xiaozhu's local rivalry, is the first one to adopt the blacklist system cooperated with Ablibaba's spinoff Zhima Credit(芝麻信用) in March.

Last month, Home-sharing Service Standards published by State Information Centre urges the system. More than ten landlords or “managers” has been detained for running short-term home rentals in China mainly for illegal “rent in order to sub-rent”, reported by 36Kr.

Airbnb threw out Airbnb Host Academy in China to provide curriculum for landlords in Feb 2018, helping them elevating reputations and getting spotlights in the Airbnb website to attract more visitors. Airbnb had always played as a platform connecting users and houses, it was the first time the company considered connecting landlords for its competitors in China were aggressively underscoring the importance of management. For instance, Tujia utilizes standardized sub-rent business model, a short-term version of Ziroom(自如) and Xiangyu(相寓), Xiaozhu was exploring authentication, unified cleaning services. March, Airbnb notified their Chinese landlords that the company was allowed to provide their information for Chinese government without further notifications, reported by Ping West.

Clearly, the booming of short-term and long-term home sharing market posts a challenge to the Chinese authorities, which want to keep an eye on the flow of citizens, public security and communal harmony. Japan, issued a first lodging law for short-term home rental in Asia to limit home-sharing to 180 days a year to restrain in April. In U.S., New York City, Santa Monica and California all have respective alike banns on local short-term rentals.

As AI technology developing and expanding, it might open a new door for players in the industry for security management, a pain point concerning tenants, landlords and governments.

--Author: LinYan. Write to LinYan at LinYan@EqualOcean.com.

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