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Thai start-up Lightnet, operator of a blockchain-based remittance platform, is targeting millions of underbanked migrant workers in Southeast Asia, a remittance market it estimates at US$150 billion. Photo: Shutterstock

Thai tycoon who owns Fortune magazine plans fintech acquisitions

  • Chatchaval Jiaravanon is co-founder and chairman of Lightnet, operator of a blockchain-based remittance platform
  • The Thai fintech start-up raised US$31.2 million in new funding this January

A financial technology start-up co-founded by the owner of Fortune magazine plans to widen the reach of its Southeast Asian remittance platform through acquisitions.

Lightnet, which describes its blockchain-based service as quicker and cheaper compared with traditional banks, may raise fresh capital to pour into purchases, said chairman Chatchaval Jiaravanon.

The Bangkok-based company announced a US$31.2 million funding round last week.

“Acquisitions will be the quickest way for growth in a fast-changing environment,” Jiaravanon, 57, said in an interview.

Chatchaval Jiaravanon, co-founder and chairman of Thai financial technology start-up Lightnet. Photo: Handout
Jiaravanon is a member of the billionaire family that controls Charoen Pokphand Group, one of the biggest Thai conglomerates. He bought Fortune magazine and its related businesses for US$150 million in 2018.

The Thai tycoon will face intense competition in the blockchain arena from a host of start-ups as well as some of Asia’s largest technology firms and traditional financial institutions.

Bangkok-based Lightnet is initially targeting millions of underbanked migrant workers in Southeast Asia, a remittance market it estimates at US$150 billion. Jiaravanon said he plans to open offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China – adding to current footprints in Thailand and Vietnam – and double staff strength to 120.


Lightnet’s financing round was led by companies including United Overseas Bank’s venture unit and Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. Jiaravanon said he wants his platform to process at least US$50 billion worth of annual transactions in three years.

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