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China's Pintec launches Singapore robo advisor backed by insurer FWD

[HONG KONG] Financial technology company Pintec Group said on Thursday it launched a venture in Singapore, its first outside China, betting on booming demand for automated investment advice in fast-growing Southeast Asian countries.

Asian insurer FWD Group, controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, will partly own the business, called PIVOT Fintech Pte Ltd, with unnamed angel investors, Pintec said in a statement without disclosing further details.

Pintec, whose Chinese businesses include an online insurance broker, a consumer lending app, a robo advisor and an online fund distribution company, plans to offer its wealth management and robo-advisory technology to financial institutions in Southeast Asia, it added.

The firm's technology already runs the robo services for Chinese companies including Minsheng Securities and Anbang Insurance Group.

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"Asean is a fast growing region with many emerging affluent clients, while digital wealth, fintech solutions are just starting in the region, with many institutions interested," Zheng Yudong, CEO of Pintec's robo advisor unit Polaris, said in an interview.

After years of red-hot growth at home, Chinese fintech giants including Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and peer-to-peer lenders Lufax and Dianrong have started to expand abroad, leveraging their know-how and domestic revenue to launch businesses across Asia.

Lufax unveiled plans in July to launch its wealth management platform in Singapore, while Ant Financial has tie-ups with Thai payment firm Ascend and India's PayTM.

Dianrong has a joint venture with Seoul-based conglomerate Hanwha Group to offer marketplace lending and other fintech services in South Korea since 2015 and recently launched a venture in Hong Kong.

Pintec's early backers include Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc, Investec Bank Plc and venture capital funds Ventech Capital and Shunwei Capital.

REUTERS

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