Hong Kong’s fintech community are celebrating the biggest Series A funding round in the city-state’s history, and one of the largest to have been completed anywhere in the world.
TNG Fintech Group raised a “record breaking” $115 million-dollar round which values the company at $565 million. The company, which specialises in disruptive technologies such as AI, blockchain, and cashless payments and money transfers, was founded in 2013 and employs around 300 people according to a company spokesperson.
TNG say they will use the money from the round, led by Chinese Private Equity firm New Margin Capital, with support from Taiwan based Nogle Group, and Infinity-KBR Group, to accelerate the expansion of its services across South and Southeast Asia. According to TNG, there are 1.2 billion “unbanked” people – who have no access to formal banking facilities and therefore benefit disproportionately from mobile based financial apps – across the Pan-Asian population.
It’s also rumoured that TNG will be looking to expand its services, which include remittances and international money transfer, into the UK and India.
TNG’s flagship product is a blockchain based e-wallet which permits users to pay bills, shop at partner merchants, and make peer-to-peer money transfers. The wallets can be topped up at partner banks or at any 7-11 convenience store in Hong Kong, with TNG agreeing a partnership with the chain earlier this year.
The wallet has been downloaded more than 600,000 times and transaction volumes currently exceed $80 million, the company has said. It is supported by more than 182,000 cash outlets. TNG has issued its own cashless services, including “merchant dollars”, in partnership with Crostini, which can be used at partner merchants, improving cash flows and enabling merchants to offer better deals to consumer
The main focus of the company going forward is to increase the reach of its international money transfer business; TNG has created a “Global E-Wallet Alliance” which includes Hong Kong, China, The Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
The company is working with localised apps in each destination, providing a white label style solution for the likes of the Dash app in Singapore, TCash in Indonesia and has even integrated into 3rd party apps such as ride hailing service Grab Taxi.
Although the company is not yet offering cross-border peer-to-peer transfers, it’s expected that TNG are developing the functionality and agreements to do so, closing in on deals in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and also the UK, according to TNG CEO Alex Kong.
TNG has a thriving remittance business across parts of Asia, claiming 70% of the Hong Kong to Indonesia and Hong Kong to Philippines remittance channels, according to Kong, who has suggested the company’s charges are “15% lower than normal remittance fees”.
Besides remittance, the funds from the round will be spent on acquiring disruptive new technologies and companies, expanding internationally and investing in new technologies including Artificial Intelligence, chatbots, and an e-KYC platform.
One of TNG’s subsidiary companies, TNG (Asia) Limited has obtained a Stored Value Licence from Hong Kong’s Monetary Authority.
New Margin Capital, the largest investor in TNG, has backed more than 160 companies to the tune of $1.7 billion, with 40 successful IPO exits.
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This is an eye-popping fundraising round for a relatively new fintech startup that provides a range of services that are mostly still in their infancy, but clearly TNG has inspired confidence in its investors and with so much cash behind it, the company is well positioned to significantly disrupt the money transfer market, both domestic and international, across Asia and perhaps In India also.
It will also be interesting to see if the company enters the UK market, and what services they will offer.
Will the hype (and the investment) be justified? The money transfer market gets more congested every day, it seems, but this is good news, albeit slightly confusing with so many different services to choose from, for consumers.
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