Klook, a service that helps tourists find interesting activities to do when they travel overseas in Asia, is in the money today, after closing a $1.5 million seed investment round.
The financing is led by Xiaoguang Wu, a senior executive vice president with Chinese internet giant Tencent — he is CEO of the company’s e-commerce division. Alongside the round, Shuren Hu, formerly Vice-Chairman of Strategy and Planning at the China National Tourism Administration, joined the company as an advisor.
Hong Kong-based Klook was founded in September 2014 with the aim of providing English-speaking and Chinese travel enthusiasts with a platform to discover interesting activities — from diving in Bali, to Disneyland Tokyo, and race track driving in Singapore — which it offers up with up with discounts of up to 50 percent.
Klook doesn’t cover hotel or flight bookings because there’s already a myriad of companies in that space, instead it covers how you spend your time in 21 destinations across Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Nepal and Mauritius. Many of these countries are travel hotspots for Chinese tourists right now, which is no coincidence since Klook is looking to capitalize on the growth of Chinese tourism.
For example, if you want to visit Bangkok — it’s a great place, trust me on that — then you can pull up the city on the Klook platform and get a range of activity ideas: from popular picks, to unique activities, and deals.
Klook — which recently released dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android — claims to have over 1,000 “carefully handpicked experiences”. It uses a combination of deal selecting and local teams to bring together discounted tickets and more unique local experiences.
Now that it has mobile apps, Klook said that its customers can browse activities and make bookings after they arrive at their departure. Klook’s mobile app can handle mobile ticketing and entry to destinations, so there’s no need to worry about paper tickets and queues.
“Mobile will be a game changer for this sector,” Klook co-founder Eric Gnock Fah said in a statement. “Although, according to recent data, over 80 percent of travelers research their trip online pre-departure, we believe a significant share of the bookings happen at the destination.”
Curated travel activities is not new, and it tends to be a tough niche to play in because so many big brands dominate the travel space. It’s a large pie, though, since Asia-based tourists are tipped to become the world’s most prolific (and lucrative) travelers by 2030, with China estimated to become the world’s largest contributor.
Wu, the Tencent executive who also sits on the board eLong — the Chinese travel firm Expedia recently divested from — believes Klook is “well positioned to capture this huge market opportunity.”
Klook, which has a staff of 20, claimed it has clocked over 200,000 users since its September 2014 launch.