The digital investment arm of Germany-headquartered Allianz has acquired an undisclosed stake in Hong Kong-based fintech business Welab for $75m (£54m, €63m).
Allianz X made the investment as part of the Asian firm’s Series C-1 funding.
Welab was set up in 2013 and has since raised $600m form international investors. It provides multiple online financial services across Hong Kong, mainland China, and Indonesia.
As part of the transaction, the two companies entered into a partnership to “drive fintech collaboration across Asia’s financial services landscape”, Welab said.
This will include the introduction of digital wealth management solutions in the region, as Welab Bank and Allianz Global Investors “intend to enter into a strategic cooperation in digital wealth management and financial services,” the fintech company said.
“Once implemented, Welab Bank will be the first digital bank to deploy this wealthtech advisory technology in Asia.
“The plan is to roll out these wealth management services to new digital customers in Hong Kong and later to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA), through Wealth Management Connect, reaching the 72 million population in one of the world’s wealthiest megalopolis.”
Simon Loong, founder and group chief executive of Welab, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Allianz as an investor and strategic partner to the Welab Group. We see this as a first-in-market four-way partnership where there are abundant synergies between Welab, as a fintech leader and a pioneer in digital banking, and Allianz, as a global insurer and asset manager.
“More importantly, both companies share a vision on delivering advanced technology solutions to customers in Asia. Today, we announce both the new round of funding and a strategic partnership in wealthtech and banking at Welab Bank.
“We look forward to expanding Welab’s geographical presence and bringing our technology into these new markets with Allianz. We will be expediting our hiring this year, aiming to add around 100 hires, as investing in people and culture will be key to support future growth.”
Nazim Cetin, chief executive of Allianz X, added: “In a relatively short amount of time, Welab has built up a powerful platform for digital financial services and achieved excellent access to retail and business customers in Asia, a region of strategic importance for Allianz.
“Welab’s high-performance technology platform, in particular, makes it a unique fintech in the Asian markets. The investment in Welab is a promising one for Allianz both economically and strategically.”
Desmond Ng, head of Asia Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, said: “Asia is home to some of the most dynamic wealth management and banking markets of the world. Hong Kong, in particular, is a significant market for us.
“With the second-highest bank deposits per capita in the world, it is a very attractive wealth management market. The potential strategic cooperation with Welab presents an exciting opportunity for Allianz Global Investors as an integral part of our growth strategy in Asia.”