Hong Kong fintech firm WeLab raises US$220m in funding round
Hong Kong-based fintech company WeLab said on Wednesday it has raised US$220 million to help advance its credit evaluation technology and to expand beyond Greater China.
The company said in a statement that the funds were raised in a combination of series B+ equity as well as debt financing, with backing from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other global banks.
The new funding takes WeLab’s total amount raised to US$425 million. Last year, it raised US$160 million in a series B round.
“For this round of strategic financing, it was important for us to have participants that would help scale our business to the next level. We have been able to strengthen our cash position, further diversify financing sources and strengthen relationships with leading, global financial organisations,” WeLab founder and chief executive Simon Loong said in a statement.
Founded in 2013, WeLab provides loans to borrowers in Hong Kong and mainland China by analysing their creditworthiness based on big data. In China, companies such as WeLab have thrived, especially since large parts of the Chinese population lack a credit history and are unable to borrow from traditional financial institutions.
“WeLab has demonstrated its ability to effectively make credit decisions based on non-traditional but
otherwise reliable data for millions of Chinese borrowers without prior credit history,” said Andi Dervishi, fintech investment group head at IFC. “Consumers will benefit from improved access to credit and from building a credit history, an important step towards financial inclusion.”
With its fresh funds, WeLab is looking to add new products to its current offerings, scale its business, improve its current credit technology and enter markets outside Hong Kong and the mainland.
Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.