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Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 19:27
HK startup Airwallex joins 'unicorn' club
By Sun Feier
Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 19:27 By Sun Feier

Airwallex — a Hong Kong-based, cross-border payment service provider — has raised $100 million, valuing the startup at more than $1billion to achieve “unicorn” status.

The company’s Series C fundraising was led by DST Global, which had previously invested in the internet giants Facebook, Airbnb, Spotify and fintech leaders Nubank and Robinhood.

Our mission is to build a worldwide, technology-driven financial infrastructure that will help our customers, including marketplaces, online sellers and small and medium enterprises, grow their businesses globally

Jack Zhang Shuo

Airwallex Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder

Airwallex, which was founded by a group of university students in the Australian city of Melbourne four years ago, said its new capital will be used to expand its pool of international collection and payment products, and support the startup’s expansion into the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.

“We started Airwallex because we knew there was a better way to make global payments,” said Airwallex Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder Jack Zhang Shuo, an Australian Chinese.

“Airwallex is proud to free businesses from many of the traditional barriers that have made international transactions so difficult. Our mission is to build a worldwide, technology-driven financial infrastructure that will help our customers, including marketplaces, online sellers and small and medium enterprises, grow their businesses globally,” said Zhang.

With the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area gathering momentum, the free flow of capital is being buoyed by mobile payment services provided by Wechat Pay and Alipay, as well as the Bank of China’s move allowing Hong Kong residents to open mainland bank accounts in the Hong Kong SAR. However, the demand for cross-border payment service from corporate users needs to move the needle.

Airwallex has earmarked its Hong Kong operations more broadly toward helping small and medium enterprises in the Bay Area which sell their products on global e-commerce platforms, by providing end-to-end cross-border payments solutions. With Airwallex, customers can open global accounts using local bank details, access interbank exchange rates and send money through local and international clearing networks to more than 130 countries.

Besides DST Global, participants from Airwallex’s previous funding rounds returned for the Series C fundraising, including Sequoia Capital China, Tencent Holdings, Hillhouse Capital, Gobi Partners, Horizons Ventures and SquarePeg Capital, with total capital raised exceeding $200 million so far.

Airwallex boasts a client base that includes internet titans JD.com, Tencent, Ctrip and MasterCard.

joycesun@chinadailyhk.com

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