Fintech company WeLab has completed the initial close of Series C-1 funding, led by Allianz X for $75 million. Allianz X is the digital investment unit of the Germany-based Allianz Group, one of the world’s largest insurers and asset managers.
WeLab and Allianz have also established a strategic partnership to drive fintech collaboration across Asia’s financial services landscape. The new funding, together with Allianz partnership, will bolster the acceleration of WeLab’s pan-Asian growth strategy and expansion of digital financial services.
“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,” said Simon Loong, founder and group CEO of WeLab in Hong Kong. The new funding will help the firm hire up to 100 people to support its expansion, he added.
Those synergies involve WeLab Bank, a virtual bank licensed in Hong Kong that launched in 2020, and Allianz Global Investors, a global asset manager with €582 billion of assets under management.
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These two units will cooperate in digital wealth management and other financial services. They will aim to go after the market in Asia where they estimate 3.4 billion lack access to financial advisors. WeLab Bank intends to be the first digital bank in Asia to deploy this kind of wealth-management technology, first n Hong Kong and later the 72 million population in the Guangdong-Macau-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area.
Desmond Ng, head of Asia Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, said, “With the second-highest bank deposits per capita in the world, [Hong Kong] is a very attractive wealth management market.”
Secondly, AllianzGI will introduce WeLab’s offerings to other markets where it is active, and where the two parties can target the currently underserved customer segments with new digital services.
WeLab also operates WeLend, a pure online lending marketplace for Hong Kong; a B2B enterprise solution platform in mainland China; and Maucash, an Indonesian mobile lending platform.
Since inception in 2013, WeLab has raised more than US$600 million of strategic financing. It operates multiple online financial services 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.
Nazim Cetin, CEO of Allianz X, said, “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.”