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HSBC facilitate $250 million investment in Vietnam unicorn
Ngoc Mai 13:45, 2021/09/15
Such a landmark investment underscores the global interest in Vietnam’s dynamic fin-tech industry

HSBC Bank Vietnam supported General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group in co-leading a ~US$250 million Series B in VNLIFE, a local tech startup operating in banking enablement, digital payment, online travel, and new retail.

 VNLIFE operates VNPAY-QR, the nation’s largest interoperable cashless payment network. Source: VNLIFE

The injection of capital is expected to accelerate the growth of VNLIFE’s existing businesses and support its development of new platforms and technologies to better serve its merchant partners and Vietnamese consumers.

 

Specifically, HSBC Vietnam provided General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group with local account opening advisory and currency exchange service for their first investments in Vietnam. In successfully facilitating the transaction, HSBC showcased its experience in encouraging FDI flows into Vietnam to help fuel the growth of homegrown companies. 

“We are hugely excited to play a key role in this historic deal for VNLIFE that underscores Vietnam’s enormously potential fin-tech industry, a rising star in the eyes of the world,” says Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam. “In this fast-growing and vibrant tech scene, HSBC is proud to facilitate the connection between international investors with local entrepreneurs, leveraging our unique international network, effectively facilitating cross-border banking deals in the time of social distancing and lockdowns. As startups are expected to flourish in post-Covid-19 era in Vietnam.”

In recent years, Vietnam has emerged as a hub for startups, closely competing with the likes of Indonesia and Singapore. The country has a dynamic startup environment with many entrepreneurs and companies engaged in the most promising sectors, including fin-tech, e-commerce, and enterprise solutions. Indeed, the number of fintech startups in Vietnam grew 215% between 2015 and 2020 according to Vietnam Fintech Report 2020. Payment remains the biggest segment, representing 31% of all fintech startups.

With a young and educated population, high smartphone and internet penetration, and strong government support, Vietnam will maintain its position as a compelling destination for tech entrepreneurs and investors. Regulatory trends suggest that the government’s focus is on attracting foreign investment in tech startups. In particular, the Vietnam startup ecosystem is expected to accelerate with favorable conditions created by the government like tax incentives for investments in IT, land rent exemption for IT businesses inside tech parks built by the government, 100% foreign ownership, etc.

According to Evans, HSBC will continue to connect foreign investors with Vietnam's most promising tech companies regardless of their maturity or funding rounds, aimed at creating more future ‘unicorns' for the country as part of its strategy to facilitate foreign investment, both direct and indirect, to help Vietnam thrive in all aspects.

VNLIFE is at the forefront of Vietnam’s rapid adoption of digital banking, with its technology solutions now being offered by its core financial technology subsidiary, Vietnam Payment Solution JSC (“VNPAY”), to over 40 banks across the country. VNLIFE also operates VNPAY-QR, the nation’s largest interoperable cashless payment network, with 22 million users and over 150,000 merchants. Since 2019, VNLIFE has also scaled its subsidiary VNTravel Tourism JSC (“VNTRAVEL”) into a market-leading domestic Online Travel Agency (“OTA”), operating across several brands as well as its New Retail division, Teko Vietnam Technology JSC (“TEKO”). TEKO has developed a portfolio of complementary software solutions that enable large and small enterprises throughout the country to digitize their analog businesses.
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