By Nadine Freischlad for Tech in Asia
Hong Kong-based TNG Wallet says it has locked in a “record-breaking” US$115 million series A investment to accelerate expansion across Southeast Asia and South Asia.
It also wants to use the cash to acquire other firms and invest in new technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and a digital customer registration process, states the firm’s release.
It’s a massive round, even in Chinese terms. It makes the startup a half-unicorn: Post-money, the firm’s valuation sits at US$565 million, says TNG. The investment was led by Chinese private equity fund New Margin Capital.
TNG’s ewallet is one of several such services in Hong Kong. It lets users pay bills and shop at partner merchants. It also allows peer-to-peer transfers. To put credit into the wallet or withdraw cash from it, users can go to partner banks or any 7-11 store in Hong Kong.
TNG Wallet app has been downloaded over 600,000 times, with a monthly transaction volume exceeding US$80 million, a company spokesperson told Tech in Asia.
TNG plans to build its strength in international money transfers. It’s formed what it calls the “Global E-Wallet Alliance,” covering Hong Kong and 12 countries, including China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan.
This means it is working with localized partner apps in each country and allows transfers and withdrawals across this network.
In Indonesia, TNG’s partner app is called InDompet, in Singapore, it’s Xin Wallet, and so on.
Many of the markets TNG targets already have a multitude of Local ewallets. There’s Tcash Wallet in Indonesia, initiated by a telco, and Dash in Singapore, to name a few. And there are wallets integrated into apps like ride-hailing firm Grab’s – it operates across Southeast Asia, which makes it a candidate for cross-border peer-to-peer transfers, though it doesn’t allow them yet.
International transfers are regulated. TNG hasn’t told us yet whether it’s already obtained the licenses required in each country to conduct peer-to-peer transfers and withdrawals.
The firm was founded by Alex Kong several years ago, but the Global Wallet Alliance was only formed last year. TNG employs around 300 people, says the firm’s spokesperson. Other strategic investors include Nogle Group from Taiwan, and Infinity-KBR Group.