WeLab raises US$220 million in new strategic financing, wins backing from Alibaba and global financial institutions

2017-11-08
New participants include Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and International Finance Corp Significant milestone following world’s second largest fintech Series B financing in 2016

Hong Kong – November 8, 2017 – WeLab, one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Greater China, today announces that it has raised US$220 million of combined Series B+ equity and debt strategic financing and has won the backing of the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other global banks.

The financing brings WeLab’s total funding to US$425 million and marks a significant milestone for the Hong Kong-based company whose early backers included CK Hutchison’s TOM Group, Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known investment firms. This follows WeLab’s US$160 million Series B financing in 2016, which was the world’s second largest fintech Series B of the year, according to a report published by KPMG and CB Insights.

WeLab was founded in 2013 and the mobile lending company operating in Hong Kong and China has since grown its number of users to 25 million and loans processed to US$28 billion. With its proprietary risk management technology, WeLab analyses unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers, creating seamless mobile lending experiences. The company also licenses its technology to banks and telecommunications companies.

“For this round of strategic financing, it was important for us to have participants that would help scale our business to the next level. We have been able to strengthen our cash position, further diversify financing sources and strengthen relationships with leading, global financial organizations. This will underpin our growth story, and see us deliver even greater fintech innovation in the world’s fastest growing market” said WeLab Founder and CEO Simon Loong.

WeLab plans to use the funds to advance its best-in-class credit technology, scale its rapidly-growing business and accelerate expansion into new products and geographies beyond Greater China.

“With a specific focus in developing innovation and entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, we invest in promising Hong Kong companies with groundbreaking business models and technologies. We were attracted to WeLab because of its innovative business model. As one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Hong Kong and the Mainland, we look forward to working with the team and support their further expansion,” Cindy Chow, Executive Director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

“WeLab has established itself as an exceptional, technology-driven fintech company driven by its professional management team, innovative products and best-in-class technology. Credit Suisse is committed to serving the diverse financing needs of entrepreneurs and we are proud to play a role in helping WeLab access the capital needed to fund its continued growth,” said Mervyn Chow, Greater China CEO and co-head of Investment Banking & Capital Markets, Asia Pacific for Credit Suisse, which is participating in the strategic financing and acting as placement agent.

Improving financial inclusion through technology

According to the World Bank, 36% of China’s population aged 15 and above have borrowed money, but only 10% managed to borrow from a financial institution. By providing a mobile-driven tech solution that is not reliant on consumers having an established credit history, WeLab has been able to provide formal financing and loans to consumers in a more efficient, direct and inclusive way.

“WeLab has demonstrated its ability to effectively make credit decisions based on non-traditional, but otherwise reliable data, for millions of Chinese borrowers without prior credit history,” said Andi Dervishi, FinTech Investment Group Head of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. “We believe the firm’s strategic partnership with banks will result in a sustainable competitive advantage to the company. Similarly, consumers will benefit from improved access to credit and from building a credit history, an important step towards financial inclusion.”

About WeLab

Founded in 2013 in Hong Kong, WeLab is reinventing traditional financial services by creating seamless mobile lending experiences. With its proprietary risk management technology, WeLab effectively analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers. WeLab operates Wolaidai (我来贷), one of China’s largest mobile lending platforms, and WeLend, Hong Kong’s leading online lending platform. The company also partners with traditional financial institutions which utilize WeLab’s technology to offer fintech-enabled solutions to their customers. WeLab’s investors include CK Hutchison’s TOM Group, Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, China Construction Bank (International), Sequoia Capital and ING Bank. In 2016, WeLab was named in a KPMG-sponsored report as one of the top 100 fintech companies in the world – #6 in China and #33 globally. For more information, visit www.welab.co.

About International Finance Corporation

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Credit Suisse AG

Credit Suisse AG is one of the world's leading financial services providers and is part of the Credit Suisse group of companies (referred to here as 'Credit Suisse'). As an integrated bank, Credit Suisse offers clients its combined expertise in the areas of private banking, investment banking and asset management. Credit Suisse provides advisory services, comprehensive solutions and innovative products to companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients globally, as well as to retail clients in Switzerland. Credit Suisse is headquartered in Zurich and operates in over 50 countries worldwide. The group employs approximately 46,720 people. The registered shares (CSGN) of Credit Suisse's parent company, Credit Suisse Group AG, are listed in Switzerland and, in the form of American Depositary Shares (CS), in New York. Further information about Credit Suisse can be found at www.credit-suisse.com.