The Next Big Thing

Hong Kong travel start-up Klook secures US$1.5 million in funding

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 June, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 June, 2015, 8:00am

Hong Kong travel start-up Klook has closed a US$1.5 million seed funding round which included investment from Tencent’s e-commerce chief, the company said today.

Wu Xiaoguang, Tencent’s senior vice president and chief executive of e-commerce, was lead investor in the seed round launched by the travel activities company which offers discounts on hand selected tours and destinations.

“Wu will be a valuable player in bringing Klook's vision to fruition with his years of experience from major tech and travel companies,” said Ethan Lin, co-founder of Klook.

“We are extremely positive at the strategic value that such investment brings and the myriad of collaboration opportunities this opens up.”

Short for ‘Keep Looking’, Klook was launched in September 2014 and has since attracted 200,000 users making more than 20,000 activities at discounts of up to 50 per cent. Users can use the app to book activities at 21 locations in both English and Chinese, including top tourist attractions such as Ocean Park and Disneyland.

The Klook iOS app, which was released in early May, was named by the Apple App Store as one of the best new apps in 14 Asian countries.

“With the rise of independent travel, China is seeing increasing demand for more authentic experiences, and that is an area Klook excels in – uncovering unique, local activities,” Wu said.

The number of outbound Chinese travellers hit 109 million in 2014 and is expected to hit 200 million by 2020, according to brokerage CLSA.

A survey of Chinese travellers by CLSA released in January found 72 per cent booked travel products online, and that tastes were expanding beyond shopping.

Hu Shuren, former vice-chairman of strategy and planning at the China National Tourism Administration, is to serve as an advisor to Klook following the seed round.

Around 40 per cent of Klook's users are from greater China, 40 per cent from South East Asia and 20 per cent from Europe, Australia and the United States.

Klook ‘curators’ test activities in each of its 20 locations before offering the attraction to users to ensure the quality of each tour operator.