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China's Tencent Raises Bets In India, Enters Insurance Market Having already invested in the likes of Swiggy and Byju's, the Chinese tech company is betting big on Indian start-ups.

By Debroop Roy

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China's Tencent Holdings has acquired a 10 per cent stake in Indian insurance aggregator Policybazaar for $150 million, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the deal.

Tencent reportedly bought half of Tiger Global's stake in the venture. The investment puts Policybazaar's valuation at $1.5 billion, the report said.

Tencent picking up a stake in Policybazaar follows its investments in several well-known Indian start-ups including Flipkart, Ola and Swiggy.

Betting Big On Indian Start-Ups

Tencent has invested more than $2 billion in Indian start-ups. Last month, the Chinese technology company led a $110 million funding round in Times Internet-backed MX Player, a video player-cum-streaming platform.

Earlier this year, Tencent invested in Bengaluru-based banking start-up NiYO.

Some of Tencent's start-up investments in India are already unicorns, namely food delivery company Swiggy, edtech platform Byju's and sports fantasy gaming firm Dream11.

This comes on the back of slowing investments in Tencent's home country. TechCrunch reported in July that investment in start-ups in China fell 54 per cent in the first half of 2019, from a year earlier.

Some of the other Chinese companies betting big on the Indian start-up space include Alibaba and SoftBank Group.

What About Policybazaar?

Policybazaar has quietly made a name for itself in the Indian insurance space, with its mobile application having over a million downloads on Google Play Store.

The platform, essentially an insurance aggregator, lets people compare and choose different kinds of policies online. According to its website, one can compare over 250 insurance plans. Policybazaar claims to have helped provide more than INR 10 lakh crore in insurance so far.

Considering how under-insured most of India currently is, it presents a massive opportunities for players such as Policybazaar. A report by India Brand Equity Foundation stated that overall insurance penetration in India reached 3.69 per cent in 2017.

India's insurance industry is expected to cross INR 19 lakh crore by 2020, the IBEF report said.

Other than insurance, the company also offers options for investment, including retirement and tax-saving plans.

Debroop Roy

Former Correspondent

Covering the start-up ecosystem in and around Bangalore. Formerly an energy reporter at Reuters. A film, cricket buff who also writes fiction on weekends.
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