Posted inBusiness moves

Allianz X leads WeLab’s latest funding round

The digital investment unit of Allianz group intends to partner with the Hong Kong-based fintech firm to develop a wealth management platform.
Young Asian woman lying on bed using smartphone and working with laptop on her lap, working from home in the morning

Allianz X has spent $75m for an undisclosed stake as part of WeLab’s series C-1 funding, according to a joint statement by the companies.

Allianz X’s investment, which is its first into a Hong Kong fintech firm, will help finance WeLab’s growth and marks the start of a “deeper strategic cooperation” between the two companies as they look to expand their operations in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and later in Southeast Asia.

They plan to jointly develop digital products and wealth management services, using Hong Kong as the starting point of their cooperation.

“This is a natural partnership where we see a lot of synergies between the whole WeLab Group and Allianz as a leading insurer and asset manager, particularly as we share a focus on delivering advanced technology solutions to customers in Asia,” said Simon Loong, founder & group CEO of WeLab.

Loon expects to go on a hiring spree this year, adding around 100 new staff.

WeLab was set up in 2013, and offers digital banking services and loans to customers in Hong Kong, mainland China and Indonesia. It has about 50 million retail and 600 corporate customers, according to its website.

Its subsidiary, WeLab Bank, was one of eight virtual banks to receive a Hong Kong licence in 2019, which will qualify it for participation in the planned cross-border wealth management connect scheme, first announced by Beijing in 2016. The reciprocal arrangement will allow GBA residents to buy Hong Kong investment products through Hong Kong banks.

“WeLab has built up a powerful platform for digital financial services and [its] technology platform, in particular, makes it a unique fintech in the Asian markets,” said Allianz X’s CEO, Nazim Cetin, who will join WeLab’s board of directors.

According to the fintech firm, its technology platform includes a proprietary risk management system based on artificial intelligence and a patented privacy computing solution that ensures the secure transfer of sensitive data.

“Asia is home to some of the most dynamic wealth management and banking markets of the world. Hong Kong, [with] the second-highest bank deposits per capita in the world, is a very attractive wealth management market,” said Desmond Ng, head of Asia Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, in the statement.

Allianz X invests in digital frontrunners in ecosystems relevant to insurance and wealth management.

The Munich-based firm also has stakes in diverse segments of the digital sector in Asia, including investments in Indonesian telemedicine app Halodoc, Southeast Asia digital real estate brokerage, and GoJek, a digital company that offers services such as taxi rides, food delivery and mobile payments.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.