AirAsia fintech unit BigPay secures up to $100m from Korea’s SK Group

Photo: Company website

South Korea’s SK Group will invest up to $100 million in the financial technology unit of AirAsia Group Bhd, the Malaysian budget carrier said in a statement on Friday.

BigPay, a unit of AirAsia’s digital arm, offers a prepaid debit card, local and international money transfers, micro-insurance, bill payments and a budgeting tool.

“Our ambition has always been to establish BigPay as one of the largest challenger banks in Southeast Asia,” said Salim Dhanani, the company’s chief executive officer, who added that BigPay plans to expand into Thailand and the rest of the region with personal loans and short-term lending.

“Closing this financing round gives us the ability to build out our offerings, accelerate product development and scale,” he said.

BigPay has also applied for a digital banking licence in Malaysia as part of a consortium with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad and private equity firm Ikhlas Capital.

SK Group said it would “make a significant contribution to BigPay in both technical and consumer service aspects,” according to the statement.

AirAsia has suffered from the pandemic slump in global travel and has been pushing to grow its digital businesses, which include a logistics firm and a travel and lifestyle services app.

On Thursday, the airline said it had netted $56.83 million from a merger between Fly Leasing Limited and Carlyle Aviation Partners, and was working on a data-backed loan of up to $350 million.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.