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WeLab Reveals Strategic Plans for Southeast Asia Markets to Achieve 500 Million Users by 2032

WeLab, the pan-Asian fintech platform, has a target of serving 500 million users in the APAC region by 2032, and to reach this goal, it has announced strategic actions in Southeast Asia markets and Hong Kong.

In doing so, WeLab is setting out to propel growth, scale and profitability and create a strong foundation in these regions. The company has pinpointed Indonesia and Hong Kong as key markets to establish itself as it continues to expand into the Southeast Asia region.

In Indonesia, WeLab has seen a lot of early traction with neobank, Bank Saqu. With over one million customers in its first six months being live in November 2023, Bank Saqu is the second digital bank of WeLab. The neobank is poised to serve over 200 million underbanked and unbanked Indonesians. It aims to become the preferred partner for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises).

Bank Saqu has been meticulously built around the needs of local individuals and solopreneurs, a rapidly growing segment in Indonesia. Over 60 per cent of Bank Saqu’s customers are solopreneurs, drawn to the bank by its multiple innovative features.

The signature ‘pockets’ (‘Saku’ in Bahasa) feature, designed for customers to separate their finances for different purposes, has seen remarkable adoption. About 40 per cent of active customers created their own additional pockets to manage their finances.

Building in Hong Kong

WeLab’s overseas expansion strategy is on the fast track as its Hong Kong-developed fintech solution is being exported, localised and well-received in Southeast Asia. Having established this, the firm is now looking to take its offering to the next phase of growth.

WeLab’s purely online lending platform, WeLend, has seen a strong uptake in Hong Kong. Since the launch of WeLab Bank in 2020, the company’s loan portfolio has demonstrated impressive growth momentum. In fact, the two entities have further grown the portfolio by nearly 300 per cent.

Furthermore, WeLab has completed a corporate reorganisation whereby WeLend is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of WeLab Bank. This move aims to elevate operational synergy and efficiency between the two entities. It will leverage their established market positions to unlock new growth opportunities. Post-reorganisation, WeLab Bank and WeLend will continue to offer their distinctive products and services under their respective brands.

The corporate reorganisation has been completed in early June without any redundancies. Additionally, the successful move marks WeLab as the first fintech group in Hong Kong that has integrated its digital lending platform into its digital banking arm.

Success of the reorganisation
Tat Lee, chief executive of WeLab Bank
Tat Lee, chief executive of WeLab Bank

Tat Lee, chief executive of WeLab Bank added: “WeLab Bank has been on the fast track to upscale its business operations and pursue profitability. Benefiting from the reorganisation, WeLab Bank now serves over 650,000 users in total. We expect to generate an additional net profit of $100million over the next five years.

“The scale of WeLab Bank’s lending operations has become one of the largest among digital banks in Asia. With the accelerated momentum, the Bank is poised to be profitable in 2025. In doing so, it will become one of the first profitable digital banks in Asia.”

WeLab’s Hong Kong businesses will continue to exhibit growth following the reorganisation. They will also support WeLab’s development of tech-driven financial services, delivering innovative solutions through the firm’s regional expansion.

Looking to the future and the rest of the region

Beyond Indonesia and Hong Kong, WeLab is exploring and evaluating new opportunities across Southeast Asia. The firm is strategising several exciting expansion plans for exponential growth in the coming five years.

“In addition to the collaboration with HSBC to improve customer journeys and innovative product offerings in Southeast Asia, WeLab is concurrently in discussion with multiple conglomerates in markets such as Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, to deliver its tech-driven financial services across diverse business models such as B2C, B2B, and B2B2X. Moreover, the expansion of TaaS (technology-as-a-service) operations will increase impact and reach, also creates new revenue streams for WeLab Group.

Simon Loong, founder and group CEO of WeLab
Simon Loong, founder and group CEO of WeLab

Simon Loong, founder and group CEO of WeLab, commented: “WeLab’s journey has always been about leveraging technology to push the boundaries of what’s possible in financial services digitally.

“We are highly encouraged by the solid traction seen in Indonesia. Reaching 100 million Indonesian digital banking customers in a record time is a big achievement. We are confident in driving growth momentum in Indonesia and beyond. We will do so by delivering our innovative, Hong Kong-developed fintech solutions to users across Asia.

“The combined Hong Kong and Indonesia digital banks will have more than 1.7 million users. This will make us one of the largest digital bank operators in Asia. We firmly believe the future of digital banking is bright, as 700 million people in Southeast Asia demand digital financial services.”

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