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WeLab Raises $75 Mn In Series C-1 Round Led By Allianz X The funding will bolster the acceleration of WeLab's pan-Asian growth strategy and expansion of digital financial services

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Hong-Kong-based fintech company WeLab on Monday announced it has raised $75 million in a Series C-1 funding round led by digital investment unit Allianz X of the Germany-based Allianz Group.

Since its inception in 2013, the company has raised more than $600 million of strategic financing from some of the renowned investors.

The new funding, together with Allianz partnership, will bolster the acceleration of WeLab's pan-Asian growth strategy and expansion of digital financial services.

"We are thrilled to welcome Allianz as an investor and strategic partner to the WeLab Group. We see this as a first-in-market 4-way partnership where there are abundant synergies between WeLab, as a fintech leader and a pioneer in digital banking, and Allianz, as a global insurer and asset manager. More importantly, both companies share a vision on delivering advanced technology solutions to customers in Asia. Today, we announce both the new round of funding and a strategic partnership in wealthtech and banking at WeLab Bank. We look forward to expanding WeLab's geographical presence and bringing our technology into these new markets with Allianz. We will be expediting our hiring this year, aiming to add around 100 hires, as investing in people and culture will be key to support future growth," shared Simon Loong, founder, and group chief executive officer, WeLab.

WeLab and Allianz have also established a strategic partnership to drive fintech collaboration across Asia's financial services landscape.

WeLab operates multiple online financial services with leading positions in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia including digital banking and consumer finance businesses, with close to 50 million individual users and over 600 enterprise customers.

As Asia sails into the digital banking revolution and many countries in the region are in the process of studying or implementing digital banking frameworks. The platform claims to be ahead of the curve, spearheading the new age of banking operating WeLab Bank in Hong Kong; one of the first fully-licensed digital banks in Asia since obtaining its license in early 2019.

With its market knowledge and extensive network, the company is positioned in this strategic partnership with Allianz X to take advantage of the vast opportunities in Asia where its total addressable market size for financial services is close to $3 trillion in annual revenue.

"In a relatively short amount of time, WeLab has built up a powerful platform for digital financial services and achieved excellent access to retail and business customers in Asia, a region of strategic importance for Allianz. WeLab's high-performance technology platform, in particular, makes it a unique fintech in the Asian markets. The investment in WeLab is a promising one for Allianz both economically and strategically. We look forward to leveraging our strategic partnership with WeLab and the business potential in the region," said Nazim Cetin, chief executive officer, Allianz X.

The pandemic has transformed people's money habits across their financial journey. The company has been said to have emerged stronger from the pandemic with multiple businesses achieving significant milestones in the past year. As fueled by increased digital adoption in online financial services, its user base grew by 20 per cent y-o-y, adding around 10 million users to the current 50 million user base.

The firm has launched a digital-only bank during the third wave of the pandemic in Hong Kong proved to be extremely timely, with WeLab Bank garnering strong traction during its first 6 months of operations;

WeLend, Hong Kong's largest pure online lending platform, outperformed the market by 70 per cent during the year to achieve its all-time record high sales volume, at a time where traditional branch operating hours and business model were severely hampered.

"Asia is home to some of the most dynamic wealth management and banking markets of the world. Hong Kong, in particular, is a significant market for us. With the second-highest bank deposits per capita in the world, it is a very attractive wealth management market. The potential strategic cooperation with WeLab presents an exciting opportunity for Allianz Global Investors as an integral part of our growth strategy in Asia," added Desmond Ng, head of Asia Pacific, Allianz Global Investors.

Its B2B enterprise solution platform in Mainland China doubled the number of business partners from 300 to over 600 as financial institutions move towards online financial services.

In Indonesia, the mobile lending platform Maucash continues to scale with increased brand recognition and popularity of online financial services in Indonesia, achieving over sixfold y-o-y volume growth.

With this round of investment and new cooperation, the company aims to combine its advanced digital banking technology capabilities and market know-how with Allianz X's expertise in insurance and asset management; the two partners aim to holistically improve people's financial wellbeing.

Existing investors also participated in this round. The Series C-1 round remains ongoing, with the final close expected in the coming months.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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