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.
Lead the Conversation on China
Subscribe Today to Get Full Access to The China-Global South Project
The China-Global South Daily Brief delivered to your inbox at 6AM Washington time
Full access to exclusive news and analysis from editors based in the Global South
Transcripts of CGSP’s twice-weekly podcasts