Thailand’s Yelp-esque Wongnai gets more funding to expand into hair and beauty salon reviews

Wongnai fund

Thailand’s leading restaurant review site Wongnai has just secured funding from the investment subsidiary of Recruit Holdings. This marks Wongnai’s second investment from the Japan-based firm, following an earlier round in May 2013.

Although the amount of funding remains undisclosed, Yod Chinsupakul, CEO and cofounder of Wongnai, tells Tech in Asia that it exceeds that of previous rounds:

“I can say that the fund is more than the last round and the valuation went up more than twofold from last year. So it’s definitely an up round.”

Wongnai plans to use the backing to springboard expansion into reviews for beauty parlors and salons. It will also set up offices into other cities in Thailand, moving its operations beyond Bangkok and Chiangmai.

Wongnai currently dominates the domestic market for restaurant reviews with well over one million registered members in Thailand.

Yod added that the company is shifting its focus away from user acquisition and towards enhancing Wongnai’s overall experience:

“Last year’s objective was to increase our user base – we grew from around 350,000 members to one million members. This year is different. We want to ensure we keep our members happy. We want to see higher user engagement, better user experience, and more reviews from our community.”

In a statement, Akihiko Okamoto, president of RSP, commented:

“We are excited to work with Wongnai regarding their engineering capability and bright management team. We expect them to become the dominant player in the Thai online restaurant guide vertical and beauty guide vertical. We look forward to combining our know-how and experience with Wongnai’s local insights to accelerate the growth.”

Wongnai is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.

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