Tencent said to buy 10% stake in PolicyBazaar in India insurance foray

A sticker featuring the logo of Tencent Holdings Ltd. is seen during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, March 21, 2019. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Tencent Holdings Ltd. has acquired a minority stake in Policybazaar.com valuing the Indian online insurance aggregator at $1.5 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal, as it tries to get a foothold in the country’s burgeoning insurance sector.

The Chinese technology giant bought 10% of Policybazaar, half of Tiger Global Management LLC’s stake in the company, the person said, asking not be identified as the matter was not public. The $150 million deal was signed earlier this week, the person added.

Tencent, known for its dominant WeChat messenger app, has been an aggressive investor in Indian startups. It’s thrown its might behind prominent technology companies including ride-hailing service Ola, education platform Byju’s and food delivery platform Swiggy. The Shenzhen-headquartered company has been a recent entrant to the booming fintech sector, investing in digital banking services startup NiYo Solutions earlier this year.

Policybazaar declined to comment and Tencent did not immediately respond to calls and an email seeking comment. Tiger Global also did not reply to emails seeking a response.

Policybazaar, operated by ETech Aces Marketing and Consulting Pvt., is among startups seeking to disrupt the dominance of state-owned or bank-promoted insurers in a sector with tight regulatory controls. It allows users to compare and buy life, health or auto insurance policies directly on its website, without any intermediaries.

India’s insurance market has massive potential as the country of 1.3 billion is mostly un-insured or under-insured. Insurance penetration was estimated to surpass 4% in 2017 and projected to quadruple over the next 10 years from $60 billion, according to the government’s Brand Equity Foundation.

Indian conglomerates including Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group are prominent players in the insurance market and technology giants including Amazon.com Inc. have backed insurance startups.

Bloomberg

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.