WeLab Online Lending Platform Secures $ 160 Million Series B To Grow In China – TechCrunch

WeLab, an online lending platform based in Beijing and Hong Kong, will launch more financial products in China after landing an impressive Series B of $ 160 million. The tour was led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s strategic investment fund, with participation from ING Bank and Guangdong. Technology Financial Group, which is led by the Chinese government.

The company operates two online lending platforms – Wolaidai, a lending platform for China, and WeLend.hk, its counterpart for clients in Hong Kong – and has now raised a total of $ 182 million in venture capital financing.

Founder and CEO Simon Loong told TechCrunch that WeLab’s Series B will be used to improve its technology, which uses non-traditional data sources to assess a lender’s risk profile and build partnerships with companies and institutions. banks. This year, WeLab will start working with the Ule.com e-commerce platform and the Postal Savings Bank of China to launch online financial products.

Since its launch in 2013, WeLab has loaned money to 2.5 million customers, the majority in mainland China. Only about a quarter of Chinese consumers have a credit card, but Loong says 36% of them have borrowed money from peer-to-peer lending groups, microcredit programs, or friends and family. . WeLab wants to offer people who need small business loans or individuals a more efficient alternative. However, many of them do not have an established credit or loan record and find it difficult to obtain capital from financial institutions at a reasonable rate of interest.

While the company does not disclose exactly how it creates risk assessment profiles, Loong says it uses online sources, including bill payment records and social media profiles, to verify the identity of borrowers and determine the likelihood that they will repay their loans on time. WeLab claims to have maintained a 1% default rate on loans past 30 days (the average credit card default rate was 1.21% in June 2015, according to the Bank of China). Most of its loans carry an interest rate of around 10-20%, which Loong says is lower than most credit cards issued to new users.

Wolaidai and WeLand.hk both compete with traditional lenders, but stand out by allowing consumers to complete the entire loan application process on their smartphones. Loong says most banks require at least one in-person meeting, and moving the entire lending process online gives WeLab an edge as it expands into smaller towns.


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David A. Albanese