Deals: Khazanah-led group invests $160 mln in HK fintech start-up WeLab

Jan 20 An investment group led by Malaysia’s state fund Khazanah Nasional has invested $160 million in Hong Kong-based financial technology start-up WeLab.

Other investors include ING Bank and Guangdong Financial Technology Group, the Malaysian sovereign fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

WeLab, which provides consumer loans in China and Hong Kong through online and mobile platforms, is part of a rapidly growing crop of fintech companies that offer financial services through non-traditional means.

According to WeLab’s website, Sequoia Capital and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s TOM Group have also invested in the firm.

The new investment will allow Khazanah to gain exposure to China’s growing consumer loan market where the rising demand is currently unmet by traditional banking services, the state fund said in the statement.

WeLab is exploring a potential collaboration in online lending and direct banking with ING, and will also start collaborating with Postal Savings Bank of China and possibly other commercial banks in 2016, the statement added.

Just last week, Khazanah pledged to boost its international presence, including in China, after posting a small rise in asset value in 2015. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)