What's driving unicorn, WeLab's growth?

By William Smith
Fintech growth continues exponentially across Asia, a trend highlighted by the recent activity of unicorn WeLab. At the end of November, KPMG published...

Fintech growth continues exponentially across Asia, a trend highlighted by the recent activity of unicorn WeLab.

At the end of November, KPMG published its 2019 Fintech100 report, outlining the top 50 and emerging 50 fintechs transforming the global financial service sector in 2019. Aside from those companies on the list (check them out here if you wish), KPMG outlined several interesting trends driving the sector including that, geographically, 2019 was dominated by fintechs in Southeast Asia and Asia - 42 companies on the list. 

That trend continues at pace. The latest company demonstrating the strength of the Southeast Asia and Asian sectors, for example, is WeLab, which offers consumer financing via its WeLend platform in Hong Kong.

Founded in 2013, the company launched a mainland Chinese lending platform called WeLab Digital in 2014, and is also active in Indonesia via the Maucash joint venture with PT Astra International. In Hong Kong, the company won the fourth online-banking license issued by the city, allowing it to move into the retail banking sector. Consequently, it is expected to launch the digital-only WeLab Bank in 2020, joining the likes of Zhong An, Standard Chartered and Livi.

The company uses big data analysis and risk management technology to personalise and tailor loans for individuals.

Morst recently, the fintech unicorn WeLab has raised $156mn in a Series C funding round. This was backed by some of the world’s largest investors, including Alibaba via its Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and China Construction Bank, both of which have previously invested via the company’s Series A and B rounds.

WeLab said the Series C constituted the largest fintech funding round in Greater China since 2019, and the fourth largest in Asia. The total raised by the company reached $581mn when considered alongside the $220mn raised in 2017 and $160mn raised in 2016.


Simon Loong, Founder and Group CEO of WeLab, said: “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 and roll out additional products and services for our customers to provide holistic financial services digitally.

“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 inflection point where the calls for supervision and governance are necessary, starting with regulated digital banks.”

For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech Magazine.

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