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After Uber applied for legal operation in Taiwan, Airbnb has also recently expressed its interest in expanding to Taiwan to the Executive Yuan. Airbnb has promised to pay taxes and provide tenant insurance, which meets the initial requirements of the Executive Yuan. The travel and B&B industries also welcome Airbnb to come to Taiwan for further development.

RTI reports, the data provided by Airbnb show that a total of 320 thousand foreign tourists booked rooms in Taiwan through Airbnb last year. Airbnb currently has about 10 thousand offered rooms and 190 thousand users in Taiwan.

Last week, Airbnb’s General Manager of Greater China Luo Han-ning and Public Policy Director Mike Orgil met with Minister without Portfolio Tsai Yu-ling. They attended the vTaiwan online counseling conference and went under the examination of both scholars and netizens.

INSIDE reports, before the online counseling conference, Airbnb issued a press release with the following statements:

“In Taiwan, the popularity of home sharing continues to grow. Airbnb guests in Taiwan increased by almost 400 percent in the past year, and the number of local residents sharing their homes increased by over 150 percent. Residents in Taiwan also enjoy travelling on Airbnb – the number of Airbnb guests originating from Taiwan also increased by over 250 percent last year."

“But the rules for home sharing in Taiwan are complex and can be confusing for regular people to follow. They were designed for a different industry in a different era, and don’t fit this new activity. We want to work together with everyone in Taiwan on progressive, new rules for home sharing, just like we have done already with other Governments around the world."

UDN reports, Executive Yuan officials say that Airbnb has come prepared and has avoided the tragic experience Uber had with the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Except for having expressed their willingness to comply with the provisions in Taiwan, pay business income tax, assist house owners in handling withholding tax on the source, Airbnb also agrees to introduce the US headquarters’ latest deliberations about third-party insurance to ensure the rights of the tenants.

When the Executive Yuan dealt with the Uber case, they set up three prerequisites that companies have to comply with before the innovative industry can be legalized in Taiwan. These three prerequisites include that one must set up company in Taiwan, pay tax and ensure the rights of the customers.

On October 6, Tsai reiterated that the Executive Yuan supports sharing economy but requires legal development, particularly in tax and the protection of consumers’ rights. She says that once they establish companies in Taiwan, not only can they avoid the controversy of tax noncompliance, but the company can also deal with disputes if there are any.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang