Thailand’s SCB invests $100 million in Indonesian online lender

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s fourth-largest bank by assets, on February 15 announced that it is investing $100 million in Indonesian fintech startup Akulaku, a digital bank backed by Chinese online payment service provider Ant Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

SCB, whose largest shareholder with a 23.35-per cent stake is the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand which manages the assets of the country’s King Vajiralongkorn, said that the investment is part of the bank’s expansion overseas and into innovative financial technology.

SCB last year announced major restructuring and expansion with a target of 200 million customers by 2025 for its businesses in Southeast Asia, which operate in six of the region’s markets, apart from Thailand in Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

“Our investment in Akulaku fits within our regional goal of serving an underserved market using digital innovations,” SCB President Arak Sutivong said in a statement.

Previous funding rounds and Ant Group expertise in the back

The capital raise from SCB follows a $125-million funding in 2021 co-led by Hong Kong multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn Group, Akulaku said in a separate statement on the same day.

Akulaku offers online payment, digital banking and lending, as well as fund management and says its mobile banking service currently reaches about 13 million users in Indonesia, a nation of about 270 million people.

With the new funds raised and Ant Group as a cornerstone investor in the back – Ant led a $100-million private equity funding round in the firm in January 2019 -, Akulaku plans to expand its offerings in Southeast Asia to reach 50 million users in the region by 2025.

Founded in 2016 by Indonesian entrepreneur

The company, founded in 2016 by former investment manager-turned entrepreneur William Li who is also the current CEO, is headquartered in Jakarta and has additional operations in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The company’s trade name is compounded from the Indonesian words “aku” and “laku,” whereby “aku” means “I” (as a person) and “laku” means “in demand” or “saleable” (as a product), so the new word is meant to describe a tool that enables someone to sell goods or services that are in demand.

According to Bloomberg News, citing insiders, Akulaku is weighing a US listing via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that could value the combined entity at about $2 billion.

 



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Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s fourth-largest bank by assets, on February 15 announced that it is investing $100 million in Indonesian fintech startup Akulaku, a digital bank backed by Chinese online payment service provider Ant Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. SCB, whose largest shareholder with a 23.35-per cent stake is the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand which manages the assets of the country’s King Vajiralongkorn, said that the investment is part of the bank’s expansion overseas and into innovative financial technology. SCB last year announced major restructuring and expansion with a target of 200 million customers by...

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s fourth-largest bank by assets, on February 15 announced that it is investing $100 million in Indonesian fintech startup Akulaku, a digital bank backed by Chinese online payment service provider Ant Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

SCB, whose largest shareholder with a 23.35-per cent stake is the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand which manages the assets of the country’s King Vajiralongkorn, said that the investment is part of the bank’s expansion overseas and into innovative financial technology.

SCB last year announced major restructuring and expansion with a target of 200 million customers by 2025 for its businesses in Southeast Asia, which operate in six of the region’s markets, apart from Thailand in Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

“Our investment in Akulaku fits within our regional goal of serving an underserved market using digital innovations,” SCB President Arak Sutivong said in a statement.

Previous funding rounds and Ant Group expertise in the back

The capital raise from SCB follows a $125-million funding in 2021 co-led by Hong Kong multi-asset investment firm Silverhorn Group, Akulaku said in a separate statement on the same day.

Akulaku offers online payment, digital banking and lending, as well as fund management and says its mobile banking service currently reaches about 13 million users in Indonesia, a nation of about 270 million people.

With the new funds raised and Ant Group as a cornerstone investor in the back – Ant led a $100-million private equity funding round in the firm in January 2019 -, Akulaku plans to expand its offerings in Southeast Asia to reach 50 million users in the region by 2025.

Founded in 2016 by Indonesian entrepreneur

The company, founded in 2016 by former investment manager-turned entrepreneur William Li who is also the current CEO, is headquartered in Jakarta and has additional operations in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The company’s trade name is compounded from the Indonesian words “aku” and “laku,” whereby “aku” means “I” (as a person) and “laku” means “in demand” or “saleable” (as a product), so the new word is meant to describe a tool that enables someone to sell goods or services that are in demand.

According to Bloomberg News, citing insiders, Akulaku is weighing a US listing via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that could value the combined entity at about $2 billion.

 



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

 

 

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