Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 09:02
ING buys up stake in Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform
ING bank bought a stake in the Chinese lending platform WeLab, the bank announced in Beijing on Tuesday. In China WeLab is active in the peer-to-peer lending platform wolaidai.com, the Financieele Dagblad reports. Consumers can quickly and simply lend or invest money through the wolaidai.com website or app. WeLab uses big data to quickly do a credit check. According to the newspaper, this makes the default rate significantly lower than with credit card companies and also makes WeLab able to help customers more quickly. The company helped 2.5 million customers since it was founded by a group of former bankers in Hong Kong and China in 2013. ING, the Malaysian state investment fund Khazanah and China's Guangdong Technology Financial Group together invested a total of $160 million in the Chinese company. "Obviously this is an investment on which we hope to get a return. But we are not venture capitalists: we especially hope to learn from them, for example when it comes to credit ratings", Benoit Legrand, head of FinTech at ING, said about the investment. "With that we ultimately hope to serve our customers better." ING also stated that the bank will be careful when it comes to China's reputation of using big data, but hopes to learn from WeLab's experiences. "You can easily buy a car that can travel 200 kilometers per hour, and limit yourself to a speed of 120. Each country has different values for privacy and a sense of security." Legrand said. "What we do here in China, is different to what we do in Europe. The main thing is that we want to continue to expand our competencies. After all, no one knows what the market will look like in ten years." Legrand would not say how much ING invested in WeLab, only stating that the bank invested "the smallest amount" of the three new shareholders.