Chinese fintech startup Wecash makes foray into Indonesia through joint venture

By Kevin McSpadden for e27

The goal is to be a go-to place for SME loans as Indonesia’s middle class continues to boom.

Wecash, a Beijing-based fintech startup that uses big data and machine learning to assess various credit-based metrics, announced today it has entered Indonesia through a joint venture with two Indonesian partners.

The JV will be named PT. Digital Tunai Kita (DTK).

The first partner in the JV is PT Kresna Usaha Kreatif, a subsidiary company of Kresna Investments that oversees its parent company’s e-commerce, digital and creative businesses.

The other partner is PT JAS Kapital, a holding company that provides the technology infrastructure behind Mandiri E-cash and LINE Pay.

As part of the move, Wecash has set up its regional headquarters in Singapore. This is the company’s second move outside of China and its first in Asia (Wecash recently entered Brazil).

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to Indonesia’s fintech ecosystem and partner with Kresna Investments and JAS Kapital, both of whom I consider to be leading players in their respective fields in banking, finance and fintech,” said Wecash Chief Strategy Officer James Chan in an official statement.

Wecash has built a tool to help the ‘missing middle’ evaluate consumer credit, co-underwrite consumer loans and detect fraud.

The term ‘missing middle‘ refers to the phenomenon in which developing countries have a lot of micro-businesses and significant economic impact from massive corporations. The ‘missing middle’ refers to the shortage of SMEs as compared to their more developed neighbouring countries.

“I am heartened by the growing trend of multi-financing and credit options in Indonesia and believe that the increased financial inclusion provided by DTK can only be more empowering for middle-class Indonesians,” said Jahja Suryandy, Managing Director of Kresna Investments.

Suryandy went on to explain that as Indonesia’s middle class continues to grow, the existing methods of credit checking will not scale, and a data driven approach is needed to help the underbanked apply for loans while also filtering out potential fraud cases.

The hope is Kresna Usaha Kreatif and JAS Kapital can bring their local networks, technology skills, fintech background and Indonesia expertise to help DTK grow into a leading digital crediting system in the world.

Wecash has raised US$40 million from three rounds to date and has about 60 million users. According to the company, it helped underwrite 5 million loans worth US$2 billion in 2016 alone.

The company has offices in China, United States, Brazil, Singapore and Indonesia.

First appeared at e27