At a time when marketplace lenders are struggling to raise funding, Hong Kong's WeLab has landed a $25 million credit note from Dutch bank ING.
Two-year old WeLab is the operator of Wolaidai, one of China’s largest mobile lending platforms, and Hong Kong online P2P site WeLend.
Despite a backdrop of increasing economic uncertainty for marketplace lenders, WeLab’s business volume in Hong Kong more than doubled from the first to second quarter of 2016. Since its launch in 2013, the company has acquired over 8 million registered users and processed US$4.9 billion of loan applications.
“Our ability to close a credit facility with a major international bank is a testament to the strength of WeLab’s track record,” says founder and CEO Simon Loong. “We believe this credit facility is one of the first completed by a major bank to fund the portfolio growth of a fintech company in Asia and are confident that this facility will open more doors to institutional funding in the near future.”
The current agreement follows January 2016’s announcement of WeLab’s Series B financing of US$160 million from a group of investors led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad. Other investors included ING Bank and state-owned Guangdong Technology Financial Group (GTFG).
Loong says the firm aims to tap the bank loan market for another US$50 million in the coming months.
For ING, the investment aligns with its startegy to increase the pace of innovation by working with both dedicated internal teams and with external partners and startups.
ING was one of a trio of financial institutions to join in a $135 million investment in US online lender Kabbage last year, partnering with the firm in October to begin offering loans of up to EUR100,000 to small businesses in Spain.