PayPal veteran Allen Hu to lead Opera’s new fintech arm

By Joanna England
Opera announced it was launching Dify last month and will roll out the service to its 380m monthly users...

PayPal veteran Allen Hu will join Opera’s new fintech arm Dify, the internet giant has announced.

The former Regional Head of Global Core Payments at PayPal will lead the innovative fintech, which is focused on bringing a powerful collection of in-browser and app-based products and q to market via the Opera browser. Users will benefit from privacy-first shopping modes, cashback deals, savings management services and investment opportunities. 

Hu’s background has provided him with extensive experience in fintech and payments solutions, as he also spent time as a Venture Partner at Sequoia Capital China and held leading roles in WeChat and Baidu Pay. 

According to reports, Hu, who has an engineering background, honed his skills at Venture Partner, where he focused on investments in the fintech sector. Prior to that, he was the General Manager of Baidu Pay, the COO of the Fortune 500 company Ping An FinTech (Nasdaq: OCFT), and the Deputy General Manager of TenPay, a Tencent company, where he launched WeChat Pay. 

WeChat Pay was reported to have 1bn daily transactions in 2019. Hu holds a MS degree in Computer Science from University of Iowa and an Executive MBA from CKGSB.

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Opera fintech launch

As one of the world's leading web browsers, Opera, which was founded in Norway in 1995, has pledged to invest $100m in the online payment solution enterprise over the next few years. The service will enable Opera's 50 million-strong active users in Europe to earn cashback from their online transactions simply and easily. Opera's investment promise to Dify is the combined total cost of the launch of Dify and two fintech acquisitions which were finalised in 2020.

Dify uses technology from the Opera browser to provide modern shoppers with the highest quality online experience by making it safer, more personal and more rewarding. The cashback service as well as the Dify app are currently offered in Spain in beta, with more European markets to follow in the future. 

Opera delivers browsers and AI-driven digital content discovery solutions to more than 380 million MAUs worldwide. The quickly growing company remains one of the most innovative browser creators in the world. Opera is listed on Nasdaq under the OPRA ticker symbol.

The internet giant launched Dify in Spain last month and the fintech’s first offering is an in-browser cashback service for online shopping as well as a Dify Wallet app, which provides Opera’s large user base with access to a personal account and a virtual Mastercard debit card. 

The browser-based fintech targets a fast-growing set of “power shoppers” whose online shopping experience would benefit from cashback offerings, a privacy-first shopping mode, a digital debit card and eventually, services like savings management, credit and investment opportunities.

Krystian Kolondra, EVP Browsers & EEA Fintech at Opera, said, “Appointing such a senior figure from the fintech and payments industry speaks to our commitment to the vertical, and to the investment and growth potential we see for Dify. Allen’s expertise will be invaluable in helping us drive the fintech division and achieve our ambition to continue to bring new services to market under the Dify brand.”

Allen Hu, EVP at Dify, said, “I am delighted to join Opera and truly excited about the opportunity Dify has to become a leader in fintech. Opera’s approach to initially offer its 50 million monthly active users in Europe an online in-browser cashback service as well as the Dify wallet app marks the start of many innovative financial services Dify will offer. 

He added, “Just as PayPal captured the fintech world initially with its online payment solutions, I see huge potential for Opera to similarly disrupt financial services and become a key fintech player through Dify.”

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