Beijing/Hong Kong – January 20, 2016 – WeLab, operator of Wolaidai (我来贷), one of China’s largest mobile lending platforms, and WeLend.hk, Hong Kong’s leading online lending platform, today announces a US$160 million (RMB1 billion) fundraising from a stellar consortium of international and domestic Chinese investors led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad. Other investors include ING Bank and state-owned Guangdong Technology Financial Group (GTFG). The financing represents the first ever fundraising by a Chinese financial technology firm from both an international bank and government investors, and also one of the first financings of an international financial institution in a leading Chinese fintech player.
This Series B fundraising follows the completion of a US$20 million Series A round in January 2015 from a group of strategic and financial investors, including CK Hutchison’s TOM Group and Sequoia Capital, which enabled WeLab to launch new products in mainland China and solidify its credit risk modelling capabilities with big data solutions.
“This second fundraising is eight times bigger and combines the support of a leading international financial institution and government funds. It is testament to the exciting potential of the WeLab business model and its transformative potential in China’s mobile lending market,” said Simon Loong, Founder and CEO of WeLab. “Further, the investment is a clear validation of our risk management and operational capabilities, both of which are critical to long-term success in the industry.”
“A significant portion of the new funds raised will continue to be invested in credit technology research and development, to enable us to set the standard for the mobile lending market and to fulfill young peoples’ appetite of mobile banking,” Simon continued.
Two government funds involved in this round of fundraising include: Khazanah, of Malaysia, and GTFG, a Chinese provincial government state fund in Guangdong. Khazanah Managing Director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said, “The investment in WeLab continues to strengthen Khazanah’s presence in the innovation and technology sector internationally. WeLab’s business model is attractive because the company cooperates with financial institutions to provide banking solutions on a purely online and mobile platform, while providing affordable credit to people who are unable to obtain financing through traditional channels.”
In China, ING Bank offers commercial banking services to corporates and institutions and is one of the largest shareholders of Bank of Beijing. Further, with the early success of ING Direct, the bank’s online banking activities, ING Bank is a global pioneer and leader in financial services innovation. “The stake we have taken in WeLab and other fintech investments prove that we are determined to transform banking to further improve the customer experience. We will look at the possibilities of starting a partnership with WeLab in ING markets,” said ING Bank CEO Ralph Hamers.
WeLab’s rapid growth continued in 2015, despite a backdrop of increasing economic uncertainty, with loan disbursements increasing ten-fold, its customer base reaching 2.5 million individuals within 1.5 years and the sourcing of RMB9 billion in loan applications. With its best-in-class risk management technology, WeLab has maintained an industry-leading delinquency rate of around 1% based on loans that are 30 days past due; this rate falls below that of credit card bad debt at traditional banks (1.21% as of June 2015 according to The People’s Bank of China). In addition, the company has achieved zero fraud loss despite operating fully online.
“Looking forward, WeLab will start collaborating with Ule.com and the Postal Savings Bank of China in 2016 on internet finance initiatives. These partnerships will help to sustain WeLab’s growth momentum as it continues to focus on realizing its vision of “democratizing finance,” Simon concluded.
Founded in 2013 in Hong Kong, WeLab is transforming traditional credit services by creating seamless online and mobile lending experiences for China and Hong Kong. WeLab operates Wolaidai (我来贷), one of China’s largest mobile lending platforms, and WeLend.hk, Hong Kong’s leading online lending platform. WeLab’s investors include CK Hutchison’s TOM group, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, ING, Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund Sequoia Capital, TOM Group’s Ule.com and Guangdong Technology Financial Group. Visit www.welab.co for more information.
Khazanah Nasional Berhad (“Khazanah”) is the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia entrusted to hold and manage the commercial assets of the Government and to undertake strategic investments. Khazanah is involved in various sectors such as power, telecommunications, financial institutions, healthcare, aviation, infrastructure, leisure & tourism, property, creative & media, education, and innovation & technology. For further information on Khazanah, please visit www.khazanah.com.my.
ING is a global financial institution with a strong European base, offering banking services through its operating company ING Bank and holding a significant stake in the listed insurer NN Group NV. The purpose of ING Bank is empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business. ING Bank’s more than 52,000 employees offer retail and commercial banking services to customers in over 40 countries.
Guangdong Technology Financial Group (GTFG) is a company solely funded by the state and operated under the control of the Guangdong provincial government. The company provides venture capital financing to technology SMEs in China. GTFG’s vision is to build out a multi-billion RMB platform to drive technological innovation, industry transformation and deliver real economic growth and wealth.