The U.S.-based publicly listed company already has a Central European presence in Germany (launched in July 2010), Austria (launched in October 2012), and Switzerland (launched in September 2011) — though Qype itself is also present in those countries and launched in Poland as far back as December 2008.
Yelp cites a few reasons for choosing to target Poland, noting that geographically it sits at the crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe, and that the country is the only one of its European counterparts to have escaped recession post-financial crisis. (Based in the UK, that is news to me!)
Furthermore, Poland itself has a population of around 38 million, although Yelp is also talking up the opportunity presented by an estimated 20 million Poles that live outside the country.
Interestingly, as of December 2011, according to some figures, smartphone penetration in Poland was as low as 19%. Mobile, of course, is a major growth opportunity for Yelp and, to that end, the company’s iOS and Android apps are also available in Poland as of today.
Initially, Yelp is to concentrate its community building efforts on Poland’s capital Warsaw and the “cultural capital” of Krakow. However, the company says that the full-featured site is available across the country and will support English, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish. In other words, don’t neglect the tourists!
Today’s addition of Poland brings the number of countries that Yelp targets to 19. In comparison, competitor Qype has a presence in 12 countries. In terms of monthly uniques worldwide, Yelp is on 78 million, versus Qype on 25 million.