Asian travel activity booking site Klook bags US$5 million to ramp up portfolio as its 50 per cent discounts prove a winner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 October, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 October, 2015, 3:37pm

Hong Kong-based travel activity booking platform Klook has secured US$5 million in a Series A funding round led by US venture capital firm Matrix Partners, the company announced on Friday.

Klook, which offers tried and tested activities and tickets to attractions in Asia to more than 500,000 users, also drew investment from China Growth Capital and Hong Kong’s “father of the red chips” Francis Leung Pak-to, the chairman for Greater China of CVC Capital Partners.

Klook said it will use the money to increase its portfolio of activities and destinations while also enhancing its technology.

“Five out of the top 10 most visited cities in the world are in Asia -­‐Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok,” said­‐Klook co-­‐founder Ethan Lin.

“As a Hong Kong-based start-up, Klook is at the epicentre of Asia travel, and is well-‐positioned to leverage its geographical advantage to transform into a global travel brand.”

In June, it raised US$1.5 million in seed funding led by Wu Xiaoguang, the senior vice president and chief executive of e-commerce for Tencent, China’s gaming and social giant.

Klook - the name is an abbreviation of “keep looking” - was launched in September 2014. This may, it released its app on Apple Store.

The platform gives travellers the option to book more than 1,200 activities at discounts of up to 50 per cent. Users can book activities in 11 countries and territories in both English and Chinese, including top tourist attractions such as Hong Kong’s Ocean Park and Disneyland.

“Travel e-commerce is particularly prone to winner-takes-all market dynamics arising from networking effects, which leads to significant cost advantages,” said Wang Huadong, a partner at Matrix Partners.

“Klook has emerged as a clear market leader in the travel activities space, way ahead of peers in this region.”

The company plans to tap demand for unique experiences from the growing number of outbound Chinese tourists. The number hit 109 million in 2014 and is expected to reach 200 million by 2020, according to Asian brokerage CLSA.

“Klook has immense market potential with its ability to serve both the Chinese- and English- speaking markets,” said Wang Daoping, a partner at China Growth Capital.

Leung is known as “father of the red chips” for his role in bringing Chinese firms to the Hong Kong market.

Klook is set to open its regional headquarters for Southeast Asia in Singapore soon and is considering bases in other Asian locations, it said.