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Hong Kong-based mobile lender WeLab raises $220m in latest Series B round

The startup eyes expansion after gaining fresh capital in a combination of Series B+ equity and debt strategic financing, backed by global firms.

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Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, CreditSuisse and the World Bank’sInternational Finance Corporation (IFC) all contributed to the round, along with other global banks.

This latest fundraise brings WeLab’s total funding up to $425m, after it secured $160m in a Series B round last year led by Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and backed by ING.

Founded in 2013, the company has now handed out over $28bn in processed loans to 25 million users across Hong Kong and China. Utilising its proprietary risk mobile technology, platforms managed by WeLab analyse big mobile data to make credit decisions for individual borrowers. It also licenses this technology to banks and telecom firms.

It is this innovative tech that has drawn the attention of big banks, and piqued the interest of its latest investors. Cindy Chow, executive director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs fund, said: “We were attracted to WeLab because of its innovative business model. As one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Hong Kong and the Mainland, we look forward to working with the team and support their further expansion.”

WeLab has stated that this latest injection of funds will be used to advance its credit technology, and also to scale the business in preparation for expansion beyond Greater China.

The announcement comes after new research was published in September which showed that China accounts for 99 per cent of Asia Pacific’s fintech market, encouraging firms like WeLab to diversify and expand out of the region.

WeLab CEO Simon Loong commented on the raise, saying: “We have been able to strengthen our cash position, further diversify financing sources and strengthen relationships with leading, global financial organizations. This will underpin our growth story, and see us deliver even greater fintech innovation in the world’s fastest growing market.”

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