KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 6): BigPay, the electronic wallet unit of AirAsia Group Bhd, has secured up to $ 100 million in funding from South Korean conglomerate SK Group to continue its mission to become the leading challenger bank in South East Asia.
With the funds, the company intends to expand its product lines, while expanding the model to new markets, said Salim Dhanani, co-founder and CEO of BigPay.
“Thailand and the whole of Aean are next, but we will be launching key products before that – with fully digital personal loans, transactional loans and an offering for micro-SMEs,” he said. in a statement today.
The securing of funding comes after BigPay announced its digital banking license application where it reiterated its commitment to building a connected financial future for Malaysian consumers and entrepreneurs.
On July 1, AirAsia announced that BigPay was teaming up with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd in a consortium to apply for Malaysia’s digital banking license. The other partners are Ikhlas Capital Master Fund Pte Ltd – a private equity firm partly owned by former banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak – and a foreign conglomerate with fintech expertise.
“Our philosophy has always been clear. We want to launch financial products that are not only simple and practical, but transparent and accessible to everyone. We are ready to embark on the next leg of our journey with SK Group and we will continue to provide financial services to communities in Southeast Asia, ”Salim said today.
AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said SK Group’s $ 100 million fund is the first investment in one of its digital portfolio companies and is a testament to AirAsia’s digital growth efforts.
“The SK Group is unmatched in terms of innovation and experience, so we are confident that they can share their expertise and know-how so that this investment can mark the start of an exciting new digital banking era” , did he declare.
SK Malaysia chief representative Jung Kyu Kim said the group has long been interested in fintech and digital banking. “The SK Group will be able to make a significant contribution to BigPay in technical and consumer service aspects, given our experience and resources,” he said.
Founded in 2017, BigPay is present in Malaysia and Singapore. Its current offering includes a prepaid debit card that can be used to spend anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted, local and international money transfers, microinsurance, bill payments and a budgeting tool.
BigPay has also launched a series of products for its users focused on long-term financial health and affordability.
At 4:33 p.m., AirAsia shares were up 4.5 sen or 5.63% to 84 sen each with a market cap of RM 3.27 billion.