Singapore’s GIC said to have led investment in Vietnam’s VNPAY

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has led an investment in Vietnam-based payments firm VNPAY, according to three people familiar with the development.

The investment is upwards of $50 million, two of the executives told DEALSTREETASIA.

When contacted, VNPAY’s deputy CEO declined to comment. GIC did not respond to a request for comment.

Financial services firm UBS is learnt to have been the adviser for the transaction. A query sent to UBS had not elicited a response at the time of publishing.

Founded in 2007, VNPAY claims to have provided payment services to over 40 banks, five telcos and over 20,000 merchants in Vietnam. In addition to a mobile banking app, VNPAY has developed a QR code-based service, an e-wallet called VnMart as well as other services that allow bill payments, e-tickets and mobile marketing.

The Hanoi-based company, one of the top 50 IT businesses in Vietnam, is one of the major players in the QR payment area. Other players include Warburg Pincus-backed MoMo, VNG’s ZaloPay and Payoo (acquired by NTT Data).

The financing for VNPAY is GIC’s first investment in a Vietnamese fintech company. The world’s seventh largest sovereign fund is an existing investor in VNG and FPT. Its non-tech portfolio in Vietnam includes VinHomes, Vietjet, Techcombank and Masan Group, among others.

GIC has extensive exposure to the fintech space with investments in the US, Europe and Asia. It has backed fintech unicorns such as Square, Germany’s N26, South Korea’s Viva Republica and Ant Financial.

Competing for wallet share in Southeast Asia

VNPAY’s fundraising comes on the heels of a recent financing for rival MoMo by Warburg Pincus. We have previously reported that MoMo is likely to have raised around $100 million in one of the biggest financing rounds for a Vietnamese tech firm.

Last year, fintech was the most funded sector in Vietnam that received $117 million in capital across eight deals, per a report by the Topica Founder Institute. Payments firms are actively targeting the opportunity presented by the country’s growing mobile subscriber base, of which 40 per cent of users are online shoppers, according to the Vietnam E-Commerce Association.

In Southeast Asia, ride-hailing majors Grab and GOJEK are sharpening their focus on financial services, including fintech. Grab bought Kudo for around $100 million while GOJEK purchased Coins.ph in a deal that is estimated to have been worth $72 million.

These ride-hailing unicorns are backed by a massive war chest. Grab has announced it will raise an additional $2 billion in funding this year after raising over $4.5 billion in an ongoing Series H round. We have previously reported that its financial services arm is seeking to raise capital from investors including Ant Financial. Rival GOJEK recently made the first close of its ongoing Series F round at over $1 billion.

While Grab and GOJEK have the advantage of being deep-pocketed “super apps”, the fintech market in Southeast Asia is still largely fragmented. In each country, there are local contenders that have bagged significant funding such as Akulaku and KinerjaPay in Indonesia and MoMo in Vietnam.

Also Read:

Warburg Pincus leads around $100m funding in Vietnamese e-wallet MoMo

Grab eyes Ant Financial funding in quest to dominate SEA’s financial services market

GOJEK is Indonesia’s first decacorn, per latest unicorn rankings

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.