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Latest $120 Million Series B Round for Opay Proves Chinese Investors Have Made an “Unmistakable Pivot to African Tech”

The pace of Chinese investment in Africa’s tech sector appears to be heating up anew with a $120 million second funding round, also known as a Series B, for the Nigeria-based fintech company OPay. What’s interesting here is that some of China’s largest tech players, including the eCommerce logistics giant Meituan-Dianping, took part in this investment, suggesting there’s a growing appetite from Chinese investors to buy into Africa’s burgeoning start-up scene.

3 Things to Know About This Deal

  • Since June, OPay has raised $170 million. While that may sound like a lot, it’s less than the $200 million raised by Nigerian fintech rival Interswitch. Last week, PalmPay, also based in Nigeria, raised $40 million largely from Chinese investors.
  • OPay’s parent company, Opera, is majority-owned by Chinese investors who took the struggling Norwegian company and turned it into Africa’s #2 browser and launched a popular search engine.
  • OPay says it plans to use the new money to drive expansion beyond its home market in Nigeria and compete head-on in a variety of mobile payment and service verticals with the likes of the hugely popular M-Pesa mobile payment service in East Africa.

So far in 2019, Chinese investment companies have invested $240 million in African start-ups, predominantly in the fintech and transportation logistics sectors.

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