Tencent Ramps up Investment in Philippine Fintech Startup Voyager Innovation

China’s Tencent and several other investors committed an additional investment of $120 million to the Philippines-based digital financial services company Voyager Innovations, according to a statement released by Voyager.

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Voyager said the $120 million investment is part of its new round of fund-raising and that the company is currently negotiating with other financial and strategic investors.

Founded in 2013, Voyager owns brands such as PayMaya, the first prepaid online payment app that enables the financially underserved to pay online without a credit card. The service has already penetrated the Philippine e-commerce, retail and even natural gas industries.

PayMaya Business, the company’s system solutions provider, allows businesses to receive online and card payments anytime, anywhere; Smart Money is advertised as the world’s first e-wallet linked to a mobile phone; and Smart Padala is the leading remittance network in the Philippines with over 15,000 agents across the country.

In October 2018, Tencent and KKR completed an investment of $175 million in the company, the largest single investment raised by a Philippines-based technology company at that time.

In February 2017, Voyager’s local competitor, Mynt, backed by the Philippine telecommunications operator Globe, received a strategic investment from the Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial, the operator of Alipay. Mynt runs multiple businesses including a digital wallet service — Gcash.

As Chinese companies seek expansion, the race for market share between China’s two tech giants — Tencent and Alibaba, – is moving overseas.

Only 34.5% of Philippine residents aged 15 and above hold formal bank accounts as estimated by the central bank of the Philippines. The country plans to increase that number by 70% by 2023, encouraging more locals to use debit cards and credit cards.