BEIJING, December 31 (TMTPOST) — Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings has acquired a stake in Monzo, a Britain-based fintech company with a valuation of over US$4.5 billion, British news outlet Sky News reported, quoting sources familiar with the matter.
Tencent has reportedly subscribed to shares as part of a US$100 million top-up to Monzo's latest funding round, Sky News reported. Tencent was investing a minority of the US$100 million capital injection, a source with knowledge of the financing process said.
The financing round that Tencent participated in was led by the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, which has raised a total fund of US$600 million.
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Founded in 2015, Monzo Bank Ltd. is an online bank based in the United Kingdom, employing more than 2000 people. It was one of the earliest new app-based challenger banks in the UK. According to Monzo, the company has seen a doubling in revenues this year and currently has more than five million customers in total with 100,000 being added each month. More than 300,000 of Monzo’s customers are now using paid and business accounts, the company said.
Tencent has been interested in Europe’s fintech scene. In 2020, Tencent led the series B round financing for French payment app Lydia, raising US$45 million. Lydia is the most popular mobile payment app in France, particularly among young adults. The Chinese tech giant also invested in a number of French startups specializing in fintech, including challenger bank Qonto, which is a French B2B bank focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises and freelancers in Europe. Investing in European fintech startups can grant Tencent access to 27 countries within the European market.
Tencent’s special interest, challenger banks, are small and recently created retail banks that compete directly with the longer-established banks. Some of them pay special attention to areas underserved by big banks. Challenger banks set themselves apart from traditional established banks by modern financial technology practices, such as online-only operations, that avoid the costs and complexities of traditional banking.