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Hong Kong fintech unicorn WeLab raises $240M to buy Indonesian bank

·2-min read

A virtual bank is soon coming to Indonesia. WeLab, a Hong Kong-based fintech unicorn, announced Tuesday its acquisition of Bank Jasa Jakarta (BJJ), an Indonesian commercial bank.

With the deal, WeLab is planning to launch a digital bank to capture the country's enormous unbanked population in the second half of next year.

A consortium led by WeLab has raised $240 million from existing and new investors, which the company claimed was the largest fintech funding in Indonesia this year. The capital will go toward acquiring BJJ's stakes and "tech investments," the company said.

The consortium, called WeLab Sky, will acquire the stakes of BJJ to become its sole controlling shareholder. WeLab Sky has already bought a 24% stake in the bank, while the remaining shares for majority control will be transferred upon securing regulatory approvals.

Backed by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing's TOM Group, WeLab opened its first digital bank in Hong Kong, a global financial center, last year. The company currently operates a suite of consumer fintech products across Asia, including the virtual bank and a lending product in its home city, as well as several types of lending services in mainland China and Indonesia. It also provides technology "enabling" services to traditional financial institutions.

In terms of user size, WeLab said it has amassed over 150,000 digital banking customers. Its online lending app for Southeast Asia, Maucash, which it launched through a joint venture with Astra International, has more than three million Indonesian users.

Tech companies have been vying for Indonesia's tech-savvy young consumers. Some of the more notable players include Xendit, a newly minted unicorn that provides digital payments infrastructure, Payfazz, which offers a mobile app for handling routine financial tasks, and GoTo, the payment gateway under behemoth GoTo.

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