Airbnb and Yonsei University today signed an MOU for mutual cooperation for research to build a foundation in an era where the sharing economy is becoming more significant. Airbnb is the world’s largest global home sharing platform, and Yonsei University is the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Korea. Attendees at the MOU Signing Ceremony included Christopher Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs; Kim Yong-hak, the president of Yonsei University, and 10 others from both organizations.
Under the MOU, Airbnb will assist Yonsei to strengthen its research capability on the sharing economy and the 4th Industrial Revolution. Airbnb will also support the university's researchers, professors, and employees participating in global educational programs. Yonsei will cooperate by introducing Airbnb in internal courses as an exemplary innovation model and promote Airbnb’s efforts in the sharing economy and the 4th Industrial Revolution. This marks Airbnb’s first MOU with a domestic educational institution.
Airbnb and Yonsei have been collaborating since 2016 in the “Global ICT Forum,” an academic society for the shared economy, hosting seminars on topics such as “Idea for Academic Competition” and 8 other sessions. The MOU will enable both parties to cooperate on projects based on personnel exchanges and joint academic research.
Since April 2016, Airbnb has partnered with local government organizations like the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to promote rural tourism. Signing an MOU with Chungnam Province took place in August 2016 specifically to solve an accommodation shortage problem ahead of Korea’s National Sports Festival. January 2017 marked a partnership with Gangwon Province to provide lodging support in preparation for monumental events such as the Winter Olympic Games.
Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb enables hosts to rent out spare rooms to guests. On its platform, there are over 4 million listings in 65,000 cities across 191 countries, enabling over 200 million guests to travel.
Airbnb welcomed 1 million visitors to Korea in 2016, of which more than 500,000 were foreign travelers.
Since the incumbent President of Yonsei University Kim Yong-hak took office in 2016, the university has based its development model on sharing resources. Such efforts are visible in its cooperation with Korea University through establishing collaborative courses. Lee Bong-kyu, dean of the Graduate School of Information, who played a key role in realizing the MOU, presented a positive view on the collaboration. He stated, "The partnership between a Korean university and the world's leading firm based on the sharing economy is an unprecedented one. The MOU will allow Yonsei to revolutionize education by offering not only practical indoor courses but real-world examples. Airbnb will also have an opportunity to build socio-economic discussions on Korean society."