Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Seminar: The rise of the sharing economy

During a three day visit to Taiwan, Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Communications at Airbnb, delivered a speech at the Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Seminar about The Rise of the Sharing Economy, held by New Taipei City Committee for Youth Affairs and Association of Digital Culture.

Following a welcome address by Eric Chu, the Mayor of New Taipei City, keynote speakers and panelists discussed how the sharing economy and innovation can have a positive impact on the world.

Jack Chao, Chairman of Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Association of Taiwan and Founder & Chairman of BravoAI Co., Ltd., hosted the seminar and explained how technology is making the most of our changing world.

Kuo-Wei “Portnoy” Cheng, Co-Founder & Chief Knowledge Officer of PanSci Knowledge/ Panmedia, pointed out crucial trends in the development of the innovation economy.

Ronald Yu, Founder & CEO of ParkingLot App, shared his thoughts regarding challenges in the knowledge economy.

As the seminar proceeded, Lehane delivered a speech highlighting how Airbnb has become one of the technology drivers changing the world.

“We are driving the economy for people at the grassroots level – people are using Airbnb to make ends meet.” By that he means that local homeowners make are able to become hospitality entrepreneurs by sharing their home with guests from around the world. Female hosts are benefiting in particular –  53% of all Airbnb hosts in Taiwan are women.

He went on to show how Airbnb is democratizing revenue: 50% of Airbnb guest spending occurs in neighborhood where guests stay, such as at local restaurants, cafes, and shops, helping to distribute tourism spend to local businesses that do not traditionally benefit from tourism and hospitality.

Lehane also discussed how the lower cost of booking an Airbnb opens up and extends travel to more people, with Taiwan Minsus proving popular with tourists from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the US. Furthermore, the hospitality and kindness of Taiwanese hosts on Airbnb play a huge role in modelling civil diplomacy.

Airbnb is committed to working closely with local communities and governments in Taiwan towards fair and progressive rules for home sharing. We’re making great progress – last year we signed partnerships with the Eastern Service Center of the Executive Yuan and the Taitung County Government to promote local tourism and support the local startup community. We are also cooperating with the Hsinchu County Government to promote tourism.