With US$200m added to war chest, Klook plots ambitious global expansion

Klook's executive team comprising (from left) David Liu, Bernie Xiong, Anita Ngai, Eric Gnock Fah and Ethan Lin

Travel activities and services booking platform Klook has secured an additional US$200 million funding from investors to accelerate its global expansion to Europe and the US this year.

This also marks the biggest round of funds raised, bringing its total financing to date to US$300 million. The expansion will take place in two ways – geographical expansion and category growth.

According to COO and co-founder, Eric Gnock Fah, the company closed a US$60 million Series C funding last October, which enabled it to make its foray into Europe by opening offices in London and Amsterdam early this year.

Klook’s executive team comprising (from left) David Liu, Bernie Xiong, Anita Ngai, Eric Gnock Fah and Ethan Lin

Gnock Fah added: “We see potential in the US and Europe (markets), especially with outbound travellers coming to Asia as there are a lot of things happening in the region, for instance the Tokyo Olympics and the (recently concluded) World Cup in Russia.”

He remarked that while the last funding helped Klook to expand globally, the additional US$200 million funding now enables the company to beef up its growth plans.

“We are in the process of setting up offices on the US’ east coast now, (and they will be) most likely in Boston and New York. This global expansion not only targets travellers heading to Asia, but also Asia’s outbound travellers to longhaul destinations, for instance Europe, where we’ve received many enquires,” Gnock Fah shared.

As such, Klook is aiming to work with local merchants to design some itineraries and services that cater specifically to Asian travellers.

Aside from the global expansion, Fah pointed out that “more resources will be deployed to Asia for sure”, as there is still room to grow.

For example, Klook recently launched the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, with all JR passes consolidated into one redesigned page to make the booking experience more seamless. The company will also be making its debut in Japan soon.

More resources will also be allocated towards its back-end systems. Currently, the 200-strong innovation hub in Shenzhen houses the engineering data team, and Klook is on the lookout for another location in Asia to build an R&D hub. This is to support the growth of digital devices, where over 70 per cent of bookings happen on mobiles.

Gnock Fah opined: “I personally think that artificial intelligence such as voice search will be used to build businesses. If this trend takes off, there will be no need to (type or click) anymore. That is why the data team was formed, to research on this perspective.”

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