China’s Tencent backs Argentina mobile banking startup Uala

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The Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd provides investments to Argentina’s mobile banking service Uala, according to the founder of the group, Pierpaolo Barbieri. They intend to collaborate with the social media giant to help in the development of their app. Uala’s other investors include George Soros and Point72 Ventures LLC. Together with Tencent’s funding, the service was given significant funding for their application.

This has come about after the trend of various tech firms from China showing great interest in Latin America, with groups such as Huawei joining in.

Tencent is considered one of Asia’s most prominent companies and has invested in a number of key areas, including digital payment, to oust its rivals. Tencent has its own mobile payment application WeChat and the app has over a billion users in China alone. Their services are a match for Apple and Google apps, which have more users worldwide. The Brazilian financial technology company Nu Pagamentos SA received $180 million worth of investment funds from Tencent last year.

On his part, Barbieri said that they want to learn from China and Asian markets in order to update the overall Latin American strategy. He himself has travelled to China to meet with Tencent’s senior team. The investment offers an opportunity for Barbieri’s company to expand its services and potentially grow beyond its expected heights.

Currently, Uala has a number of services, ranging from prepaid Mastercards to digital and bill payment services for Argentine users.

Due to the regulatory difficulties faced by startup companies like Uala, the journey to getting the attention of big Asian firms has not been easy, but the rapid attention gained online has boosted their overall popularity. Latin America has also helped support some major successes, including MercadoLibre Inc, a U.S.-listed marketplace, and Despegar.com Corp for travel.

Because of the successes of groups like Uala, there are to be a lot of citizens who will be willing to open up more bank accounts in the future.

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