ChinaTravelNews - Travel experience reservation platform Klook has secured USD 200 million in its series E found of funding which had pan-Asia investment management firm Aspex Management as the lead investor and was also backed by existing investors Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund, Matrix Partners China and Boyu Capital.
The company did not disclose its post-money valuation but Ethan Lin, co-founder and CEO of Klook, mentioned that there is “no significant fluctuation in valuation”.
The company laid off or furloughed more than 300 people and closed some offices last year, according to a report of US tours and activities media site Arival in April 2020.
ChinaTravelNews reported in April 2020 that Klook acquired Huizhuche, an overseas car rental platform for Chinese travelers.
Last year, Klook adjusted its strategic priority to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company said it has doubled down on the digitalization investments of the online travel booking sector and has rolled out experience-based “micro vacation” and car rental services, targeting tourism and leisure consumption in Asia Pacific as a new growth engine.
Klook told ChinaTravelNews that, with the gradual easing of travel restrictions, the company’s booking volumes in the Greater China area, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia have neared pre-pandemic levels.
The complementary regional strengths of Klook in Asia and GetYourGuide in Europe, as well as the common investor in Softbank have driven many industry observers to speculate Klook’s potential merger with GetYourGuide, according to the Arival report. But the co-founders of both companies have repeatedly waved off the idea.
Berlin-based GetYourGuide, a major competitor of Klook, secured USD 484 million in its Series E round financing in May 2019.
The tours and activities sector has experienced the significant impacts of COVID-19. Major OTA players including Booking.com and Expedia have re-adjusted their strategies in the business.
Booking.com terminated contracts with tours and attractions operators as of June 30 last year, handing the keys to much of its experiences business to TUI’s Musement and eventually additional strategic partners, according to a Skift report.
Arival reported in December 2020 that Expedia has closed a legacy but once an important part of its tours and activities business: the offline Local Expert concierge business in Hawaii and Orlando.