Tencent Holdings reportedly take a stake in Argentina mobile payment app Uala, join Goldman Sachs, Soros, and Steve Cohen, a prominent hedge fund manager.
Uala founder Pierpaolo Barbieri said the equity investment from Tencent would be used for the company’s development in Argentina, “Tencent’s investment is a bet on Argentina’s next 10 years, not the next 6 months,” Barbieri in a telephone interview in Buenos Aires. Barbieri declined to disclose the amount of the investment.
Tencent currently has little exposure to Latin America, having previously announced a $90 million investment in Brazil’s Nubank in October.
Argentina currently has less than half of the population with bank accounts, and Uala will launch a redesigned app in Wednesday and plans to start lending through applications this year.
Tencent’s investment comes as Argentina, which suffered a currency crisis in 2018, is experiencing a recession and inflation raging, and foreign direct investment is falling, and the presidential election, which will take place in October, has made investors nervous.
Uala has issued more than 500,000 prepaid CARDS from October 2017 to December 2018, betting on Argentina’s long-term growth. In Argentina, less than half of the population owns bank accounts. The company will launch the redesigned app in Wednesday and plans to start lending through its app this year.