Country for PR: Hong Kong
Contributor: PR Newswire Asia (Hong Kong)
Monday, March 08 2021 - 19:13
AsiaNet
WeLab completes initial close of Series C-1 funding, led by Allianz X for US$75 million and announces strategic partnership
HONG KONG, March 8, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-WeLab's focus on technology and innovation in building a pan-Asian digital 
financial services platform complements Allianz's expansion strategy with 
technology-focused partners in the region 
-Allianz and WeLab have established a strategic partnership with plans to 
develop and distribute investment and insurance solutions 
-WeLab Bank and Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) intend to enter into a 
strategic cooperation in digital wealth management and financial services. Once 
implemented, WeLab Bank will be the first digital bank to deploy this 
wealthtech advisory technology in Asia



WeLab, a leading fintech company in Asia, today announced it has completed the 
initial close of Series C-1 funding, led by Allianz X for US$75 million. 
Allianz X is the digital investment unit of the Germany-based Allianz Group, 
one of the world's largest insurers and asset managers. Since inception in 
2013, WeLab has raised more than US$600 million of strategic financing from the 
world's most renowned investors. WeLab and Allianz have also established a 
strategic partnership to drive fintech collaboration across Asia's financial 
services landscape. The new funding, together with Allianz partnership, will 
bolster the acceleration of WeLab's pan-Asian growth strategy and expansion of 
digital financial services.

WeLab operates multiple online financial services with leading positions in 
Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia including digital banking and consumer 
finance businesses, with close to 50 million individual users and over 600 
enterprise customers. As Asia sails into the digital banking revolution and 
many countries in the region are in the process of studying or implementing 
digital banking frameworks. WeLab is ahead of the curve, spearheading the new 
age of banking operating WeLab Bank in Hong Kong — one of the first 
fully-licensed digital banks in Asia since obtaining its license in early 2019. 
With its unique market knowledge and extensive network, WeLab is perfectly 
positioned in this strategic partnership with Allianz to take advantage of the 
vast opportunities in Asia where its total addressable market size for 
financial services is close to US$3 trillion in annual revenue.  

WeLab has achieved significant milestones in the increasingly digital COVID era

In the COVID era, the market is rapidly evolving, with accelerated digital 
adoption as one of the outcomes. The pandemic has transformed people's money 
habits across their financial journey. The boom in digital services adoption 
plays into WeLab's strength in fintech services. WeLab has emerged stronger 
from the pandemic with multiple businesses achieving significant milestones in 
the past year. For example:

-Fueled by increased digital adoption in online financial services, WeLab's 
user base grew by 20% YoY, adding around 10 million users to the current 50 
million user base, the largest user growth in recent years; 
-Launching a digital-only bank during the third wave of pandemic in Hong Kong 
proved to be extremely timely, with WeLab Bank garnering strong traction during 
its first 6 months of operations; 
-WeLend, Hong Kong's largest pure online lending platform, outperformed the 
market by 70% during the year to achieve its all-time record high sales volume, 
at a time where traditional branch operating hours and business model were 
severely hampered; 
-WeLab's B2B enterprise solution platform in Mainland China doubled the number 
of business partners from 300 to over 600 as financial institutions move 
towards online financial services; 
-In Indonesia, the mobile lending platform Maucash continues to scale with 
increased brand recognition and popularity of online financial services in 
Indonesia, achieving over 6x YoY volume growth.

Partnership will accelerate growth of WeLab's pan-Asian financial services 
footprint 

With this round of investment and new cooperation, WeLab aims to combine its 
advanced digital banking technology capabilities and market know-how with 
Allianz's expertise in insurance and asset management, the two partners aim to 
holistically improve people's financial wellbeing. The broader strategic 
cooperation between WeLab and Allianz will continue to develop over time and 
encompasses two key areas:

1. The rollout of pioneering digital wealth management in Asia: WeLab Bank and 
Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) intend to enter into a strategic 
cooperation in digital wealth management and financial services. WeLab Bank is 
looking into developing and distributing digital wealth management solutions 
with AllianzGI, a global asset manager under Allianz, with assets under 
management of over EUR 582 billion*. These would aim to bridge the significant 
unmet investment needs in Asia, a region where only 27% of the population use 
financial advisors, resulting in a sizable under-advised population of over 3.4 
billion. Once implemented, WeLab Bank will be the first digital bank to deploy 
this wealthtech advisory technology in Asia. The plan is to roll out these 
wealth management services to new digital customers in Hong Kong and later to 
the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), through Wealth Management 
Connect, reaching the 72 million population in one of the world's wealthiest 
megalopolis. 


2. New markets and new products: development and distribution of investment and 
insurance solutions: WeLab recognizes opportunities to widen the regional scope 
of its financial service offerings to other markets in which Allianz operates. 
For example, in the booming digital Southeast Asian economies, there are around 
400 million active internet users, but over 70% of the total population is 
either unbanked or underbanked. There is, therefore, a lot of potential to 
expand the cooperation. The two companies are exploring opportunities to offer 
new digital investment and insurance products in the region, combining 
Allianz's expertise in investment and insurance and WeLab's network of 
customers and technology.

Simon Loong, Founder & Group CEO of WeLab, said, "We are thrilled to welcome 
Allianz as an investor and strategic partner to the WeLab Group. We see this as 
a first-in-market 4-way partnership where there are abundant synergies between 
WeLab, as a fintech leader and a pioneer in digital banking, and Allianz, as a 
global insurer and asset manager. More importantly, both companies share a 
vision on delivering advanced technology solutions to customers in Asia. Today, 
we announce both the new round of funding and a strategic partnership in 
wealthtech and banking at WeLab Bank. We look forward to expanding WeLab's 
geographical presence and bringing our technology into these new markets with 
Allianz. We will be expediting our hiring this year, aiming to add around 100 
hires, as investing in people and culture will be key to support future 
growth." 

Nazim Cetin, CEO of Allianz X, said, "In a relatively short amount of time, 
WeLab has built up a powerful platform for digital financial services and 
achieved excellent access to retail and business customers in Asia, a region of 
strategic importance for Allianz. WeLab's high-performance technology platform, 
in particular, makes it a unique fintech in the Asian markets. The investment 
in WeLab is a promising one for Allianz both economically and strategically. We 
look forward to leveraging our strategic partnership with WeLab and the 
business potential in the region." 

Desmond Ng, Head of Asia Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, said, "Asia is 
home to some of the most dynamic wealth management and banking markets of the 
world. Hong Kong, in particular, is a significant market for us. With the 
second-highest bank deposits per capita in the world, it is a very attractive 
wealth management market. The potential strategic cooperation with WeLab 
presents an exciting opportunity for Allianz Global Investors as an integral 
part of our growth strategy in Asia."

Existing investors also participated in this round, reflecting their continued 
conviction and confidence in WeLab. The Series C-1 round remains ongoing, with 
the final close expected in the coming months. 

About WeLab

WeLab, a leading fintech company in Asia, operates one of the first licensed 
digital banks in Asia - WeLab Bank, as well as multiple online financial 
services with leading positions in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Indonesia, 
with close to 50 million individual users and over 600 enterprise customers. 
WeLab uses game-changing technology to help customers access credit, save 
money, and enjoy their financial journey. 


Powered by proprietary risk management technology, patented privacy computing 
techniques, and advanced AI capabilities, WeLab offers mobile-based consumer 
financing solutions and digital banking services to retail individuals and 
technology solutions to enterprise customers. 


WeLab operates in three markets under seven key brands, including WeLend and 
WeLab Bank in Hong Kong, WeLab Digital, Taoxinji, Wallet Gugu, and Tianmian 
Tech in Mainland China and Maucash in Indonesia. 


WeLab is backed by the most renowned investors including Allianz, China 
Construction Bank International, International Finance Corporation (a member of 
the World Bank Group), Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional 
Berhad, CK Hutchison's TOM Group, and Sequoia Capital.

To learn more about WeLab, please visit: www.welab.co, or follow WeLab on 
LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Allianz X

Allianz X invests in digital frontrunners in ecosystems relevant to insurance 
and wealth management. As one of the pillars of Allianz Group's digital 
transformation strategy, Allianz X provides an interface between Allianz 
Operating Entities and the broader digital ecosystem, enabling collaborative 
partnerships in insurtech, fintech, and beyond. 

For more information, please visit: https://www.allianzx.com/.

About Allianz Global Investors

Allianz Global Investors is a leading active asset manager with over 700 
investment professionals in 25 offices worldwide and managing EUR 582 billion 
in assets for individuals, families and institutions*.

We see investing as a journey and we seek to create value for our clients every 
step of the way. We invest for the long term, employing our global investment 
and risk capabilities and sustainable investing expertise to create innovative 
solutions that anticipate future needs. We believe in solving not selling – our 
goal is to elevate the investment experience for clients, wherever they are 
based and whatever their investment objectives.

Active is: Allianz Global Investors
*Source: Allianz Global Investors. Data as at 31 December 2020

For media enquiries, please contact: 


WeLab: 
WeLab Corporate Communications Team 
Tel: +852 6214 4734 
Email: pr@welab.co


Allianz X: 
Gregor Wills 
Tel: +49 89 3800 61313 
Email: gregor.wills@allianz.com 

Source WeLab

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   Caption: WeLab completes initial close of Series C-1 funding, led by Allianz 
X for US$75 million and announces strategic partnership