(Yicai Global) Nov. 10 -- WeLab (subordinate to Shenzhen Wei Ying Zhixin Technology Co., a fin-tech company, announced that it has pooled USD227 million (CNY1.5 billion) in its round-B+ financing.
Proceeds will mainly go to upping its investment in mobile credit technologies, further developing its business, exploring innovative business models and accelerating its overseas market expansion, per the company's official website.
Investors in this round of financing included Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund -subordinate to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA]), International Finance Corp. (IFC) and Credit Suisse Group AG [NYSE:CS; SIX:CSGN; XETRA:CSX]., but WeLab omitted to disclose either these institutions' specific investment amounts or its latest valuation.
The financing in this round includes both equity and debt financing. Alibaba's investment falls into the category of equity financing, confirmed Simon Loong, WeLab's founder and chief executive.
Formed in Hong Kong in 2013, WeLab entered the Chinese mainland in 2014, offering intelligent financial services to wage-earners, individual businesses, micro and small enterprise owners, traditional financial institutions, operators and mobile internet platforms. The company owns a mobile loan platform named Wolaidai in China, while it runs a similar one in Hong Kong called WeLend. Registered users of its loan platforms topped 25 million by the end of October, with over USD27.2 billion (CNY180 billion) n online loan applications. It has formed cooperation partnership with 40 financial institutions.
Investment in artificial intelligence (AI) is also a company focus this year. It will employ machine learning to reduce risks from non-performing loans and strive to achieve zero losses from fraud. It will also learn to select clients who are up to its standards among quality ones to reduce delinquent payments. The company also released its WeBot this year, for which AI will perform 70 percent of its customer service, enabling borrowers to take out loans directly via their cell phones without the need to fill out application forms, said Loong.
WeLab's business of increased 5.7 times over last year in the first half of this year and it is now profitable in consequence, Loong also noted. The company now hopes to go public after achieving profitability and introducing strategic investors.