WeLab raises US$156M in Series C strategic financing, completing the largest fintech fundraising in Greater China in 2019
Aims to launch WeLab Bank in 2020 and further expand internationally within the next 2 years
HONG KONG, Dec. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- WeLab, a leading fintech company in Asia, today announces that is has raised US$156 million (equivalent to over HK$1.2 billion) of Series C strategic financing, completing the largest fintech fundraising in Greater China, year to date. This round drew the backing of new investors as well as 5 existing investors who made follow-on investments, including Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and China Construction Bank (International) amongst others, as validation of WeLab's accomplishments and confidence for WeLab's future prospects.
"This financing will be used to further develop and broaden our platform as a fintech enabler. Further investment into technology research and development, will enable us to apply these innovative technologies around the region to roll out additional products and services for our customers to provide holistic financial services digitally," said Simon Loong, Founder and Group CEO of WeLab.
Strong performance across all core businesses, setting foundation for further expansion
In the 2 years since the last fundraising round in 2017, WeLab has successfully transformed into a regional fintech leader, scaling the tech-enabled business in 3 markets, achieving some notable milestones including being granted several operating licenses and industry-leading technology patents, including: Hong Kong's virtual bank license; Mainland China's financial guarantee license and financial leasing license; Indonesia's fintech license issued by the OJK; and technology patents, including for "Edge computing", which solidifies WeLab's commitment to fintech innovation and path to providing more comprehensive financial services. WeLab also officially released the group's Chinese name "匯立金融控股有限公司" and the Chinese name of WeLab Bank as "匯立銀行".
The Group's operations which span across 3 markets have achieved some outstanding results through the 6 key brands.
- Hong Kong: WeLab was granted a virtual banking license by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in April 2019 and is expected to launch WeLab Bank in 2020, to provide a refreshing digital banking experience to customers. The Chairman of Cyberport (Hong Kong's leading technology incubator), Dr Lee George Lam has joined as an Independent Non-Executive Director to serve on the Board of Directors alongside other notable members including Professor KC Chan who will serve as Chairman of the WeLab Bank Board. With an operating track record of over 6 years, WeLend continues to be Hong Kong's leading pure online lending platform, with a market share of approximately 13.2%, going from strength to strength, realizing a net profit growth of 155% in 2019.
- Mainland China: In just 5 years, WeLab has built a vast footprint and leadership position in the Mainland across 3 key brands. Following the strategic alignment of WeLab Digital(我来数科)earlier this year, the number of registered users has surpassed 41 million and the number of small and micro loan applications have increased by an impressive 412% in 2019. The new economy leasing solutions provided by Taoxinji (淘新机) which is also available on the platforms of JD.com and Alipay, the 2 e-commerce giants in China, continues to expand across the consumer electronics product rental category, now covering over 300 popular electronic products including mobile phones, drones, laptops, IoT devices etc. WeLab's B2B enterprise solution brand Tianmian Lab(天冕大数据实验室) which provides cloud-based solutions, commenced working with over 300 institutions, enabling them to offer fintech-enabled services and digital experiences to their customers.
- Indonesia: Having entered the Indonesian market in 2018 with one of Indonesia's largest conglomerates, PT Astra International, as the joint venture partner to form PT AWDA, the brand maucash was launched and has gained strong traction in the first year of operations, acquiring more than 600,000 registered users, which is 28% more than when WeLab entered the Mainland market back in 2014. The entity was also granted a fintech license by the Indonesian Financial Services Regulatory Authority (OJK), in September 2019, becoming one of only 13 licensed operators in Indonesia.
Rising against the tide, reinforcing the base of first-class investors
WeLab has a proven track record of fundraising from first-class global investors, who have contributed significantly as strategic partners in scaling the Group's rapid growth. According to PitchBook, WeLab's Series C strategic financing is the largest fintech fundraising in Greater China to date in 2019, and fourth among fintech fundraisings in Asia. At the same time, the Group's valuation continues to reach new heights, climbing into the Top10 ranking of unicorns in the Greater Bay Area after this Series C round, according to the "Hurun Global Unicorn List 2019" released by the Hurun Research Institute.
Activating the new strategic journey for 2020
In 2020, the Group aspires to further develop and broaden the platform as a fintech enabler with the following 3 key targets: to launch WeLab Bank in 2020; further expand China's B2B business to work with over 1,000 partners and to make our proprietary "Privacy Computing" solutions to enterprises on the cloud platform in 2H 2020; and aim to enter another South East Asia market beyond Indonesia within the next 2 years.
In closing, Loong also said "With technological advancement, fintech has gradually been integrated into our daily lives over the last decade, transforming the traditional world of banking as we know it. 2020 marks the inflexion point where the calls for supervision and governance are necessary, starting with regulated digital banks."
WeLab is a leading fintech company in Asia with one of the first virtual banks established in Hong Kong. WeLab provides financial services by creating seamless digital experiences to over 41 million users across Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia. WeLab was named in a KPMG-sponsored report as one of the top 100 FinTech companies in the world – #23 globally and #6 in China. WeLab was ranked #1 as the "2020 Growth Champions of the Greater Bay Area" in a report by SCMP and was also ranked by Deloitte as the #1 fastest growing tech company by revenue in Hong Kong and #4 in China.
Using its proprietary risk management technology and advanced AI capabilities in, WeLab effectively analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to provide innovative financial services and offer consumer financing solutions for individual customers. The company also offers B2B enterprise solutions by partnering with traditional financial institutions, which utilize WeLab's technology to offer fintech-enabled services to their customers.
WeLab operates in 3 markets under 6 key brands, including WeLend and WeLab Bank in Hong Kong, WeLab Digital (我来数科), Taoxinji (淘新机) and Tianmian Lab (天冕大数据实验室) in Mainland China and "maucash", under AWDA, a fintech joint venture with PT Astra International in Indonesia.
WeLab's investors include Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, CK Hutchison's TOM Group, International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, China Construction Bank (International), Sequoia Capital and ING Bank.