Qype expands to Italy in attempt to outpace Yelp's expansion

The German Yelp counterpart Qype is continuing its expansion. This time they are heading south and have launched an Italian version of their review website. As with Yelp, Qype members evaluate businesses, places or services such as bars, restaurants, stores, petrol stations, nurseries, doctors, pet shops or sports clubs.

While Qype is multilingual, it treats each localized version as its own site. You’ll never run across a review in French if you’ve specified your preferred language as English. Qype users in Italy will not only find loads of already written reviews in their own language, they can also use the popular Qype radar for mobiles. That’s a nifty freeware application for iPhone and Android devices which shows nearby businesses and uses GPS. In the UK Qype competes with TrustedPlaces, Spoonfed and a handful of other players.

The move makes sense. Italy is Qype’s 10th market. The first countries of launch, Germany, UK and France, remain it’s core markets and are largely responsible for more than 350,000 Qype reviewers and more than a million reviews. Founded in 2005, Qype claims to be Europe’s largest review portal with more than 14 million users. It also operates in Spain, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Brazil.

Founder Stephan Uhrenbacher, who remains Qype’s largest private shareholder, has recently moved to a back seat on the board after deciding to bring in Stephen Taylor, a former Yahoo! Europe head honcho, as CEO. Uhrenbacher is now hunting for aspiring founders to launch new business ideas out of his Upspring vehicle.