China Digest: Airwallex buys UniCard; Sequoia invests in Houmo.ai

Airwallex

Airwallex has acquired Hong Kong-incorporated UniCard Solution Limited to empower Hong Kong’s retail payment industry with a Stored Value Facilities (SVF) license, while Sequoia Capital China has led an angel round for AI chips and applications developer Houmo.ai.

Fintech unicorn Airwallex acquires HK’s UniCard to gain SVF license

Fintech unicorn Airwallex announced on Thursday that it has completed the acquisition of Hong Kong-incorporated UniCard Solution Limited to join players including PayPal and WeChat Pay to empower the city’s retail payment industry with a Stored Value Facilities (SVF) license.

Airwallex said it had received approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city’s de-facto central bank, to become a shareholder controller of UniCard on February 23. UniCard holds an SVF license under the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance (PSSVFO).

Since Hong Kong granted the first batch of SVF licenses in August 2016, the city has accumulated a list of 15 SVF licensees to date. Alipay Financial Services (HK) Limited, which operates Ant Group’s online payment app Alipay in the city, was among one of the first group of companies to receive such licence.

Backed by Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital, Airwallex offers a global financial cloud to empower businesses, providing a one-stop-shop for payments, collections, FX, cards, and other value-add solutions for SMEs, and an API for larger businesses requiring customisation.

It announced its latest valuation of $1.8 billion after the completion of the first tranche of a Series D round at $160 million in April 2020. Later last year, it raised an additional $40 million in an extended Series D round.

Sequoia China leads angel round for AI chip maker Houmo.ai

AI chips and applications developer Houmo.ai has completed its angel round raising ‘tens of millions of US dollars’ led by Sequoia Capital China, the investee announced on Thursday.

MatrixPartners China, Lenovo’s corporate venture capital firm Lenovo Capital, Legend Holdings’ investment arm Hony Capital and IMO Ventures, an U.S and China markets-focused investment firm, joined the round. Baize Capital facilitated the transaction. 

Founded by Princeton University’s alumnus Dr. Qiang Wu late last year, Houmo.ai commits to offer high-performing and low-power consumption AI chips and solutions that cater to pan-robotics and self-driving vehicles. 

 

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.

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.