WeLab

WeLab Limited is a Hong Kong financial technology company offering a range of services, such as online consumer credit platforms and virtual banking. It was founded in January 2013 by Simon Loong, Kelly Wong and Frances Kang, and is best known for being the parent company of WeLab Bank, one of the first virtual banks to be granted a license to operate in Hong Kong.[1]

Outside of Hong Kong, WeLab also operates in mainland China and Indonesia. As of 2020, WeLab had over 40 million customers and facilitated over HK$50 billion in loans.[2]

 

History

WeLab Limited was first established on 22 November 2012 in Hong Kong as WeLend, but began operating as WeLab in January 2013,[3] and later that year launched WeLend as a standalone product – Hong Kong’s first online consumer credit lending platform. In 2014, WeLab began to expand outside of Hong Kong, first into Mainland China with Wolaidai (我来贷), then into Indonesia in 2018 with a partnership with Astra International.[4]

In April 2019, WeLab was granted Hong Kong’s fourth virtual banking licence, and the company launched WeLab Bank.[5]

Funding

Series A

In January 2015, WeLab raised US$20 million in its Series A fundraising round. Key investors include CK Hutchison’s TOM Group; Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital; Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global; ICONIQ Capital; and Ule.com, a joint venture between China Post, China’s state-owned postal service and TOM Group.

Series B

In January 2016, WeLab raised US$160 million in its Series B fundraising from a consortium of international and domestic Chinese investors led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad. Other investors include ING Bank and state-owned Guangdong Technology Financial Group (GTFG). This fundraising round was ranked as the 5th largest FinTech fundraising round out of 413 deals across the globe in the first half of 2016.

In November 2017, WeLab raised US$220 million in its new financing from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and global financial institutions China Construction Bank (International), Credit Suisse and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.[6]

Series C

In late 2019, WeLab raised US$156 million (HK$1.2 billion) of Series C strategic financing, bringing its total funding to over $580 million.[7]

Technology

WeLab offers customers a full-service bank that allows them to open a bank account all from their mobile phone. It launched a new virtual credit card that lets users get instant credit approval within the app.

WeLab is partnering with more than 300 financial institutions in Asia to help them better serve their customers. It recently created a custom-designed integrated mobile lending solution for one of China’s leading banks so that its 500 million customers could access credit online.[8]

Brands

Hong Kong

  • WeLab Bank
  • WeLend

Mainland China

  • WeLab Digital
  • Taoxinji
  • Tianmian Lab

Indonesia

  • PT Astra WeLab Digital Arta (AWDA)
    • Maucash

Leadership

  • Group Chief Executive Officer:Simon Loong (since January 2013)

References

  1. ^Yiu, Enoch (7 May 2018). “WeLab joins fintech race to become Hong Kong’s first licensed virtual bank”. SCMP.
  2. ^“WeLab”. CNBC. 16 June 2020.
  3. ^“WeLend Ltd”. Bloomberg.
  4. ^“Indonesia Gets Yet Another Mobile Lending Startup Backed by Hong Kong’s WeLab”. Fintech Singapore. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  5. ^“WeLab gets Hong Kong’s fourth online-only banking licence”. Reuters. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  6. ^Financial tech startup WeLab raises $220M from investors including Alibaba, the IFC and Credit Suisse, Techcrunch, 7 November 2019
  7. ^“WeLab”. CNBC. 16 June 2020.

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