GREAT Eastern will make a US$70 million investment in Axiata Digital’s financial-services business to “participate in Axiata’s growing fintech expansion plans in the region”, said Great Eastern’s group chief executive Khor Hock Seng on Thursday.
The investment will be made via a newly created holding company Boost Holdings, which will be wholly-owned by Axiata Digital, the digital arm of Axiata Group. With the investment, Great Eastern will have a 21.875 per cent in Boost; Axiata Digital Services will hold the remaining stake.
Boost is a Malaysia-based e-wallet and lifestyle app with over 7.5 million users and 170,000 merchant touchpoints.
Proceeds from the investment will fund expansion plans for Axiata Digital’s digital financial services (DFS) business over the next year in Malaysia and the region; this expansion includes securing Boost’s upcoming plans to develop its ecosystem of merchants and customers, and enhancing micro-financing and micro-insurance digital financing provider Aspirasi’s credit-scoring technology.
This comes amid expectations that demand and interest for digitisation will grow exponentially following the Covid-19 crisis, said Axiata Digital. Customers and merchants expect better protection measures, along with affordable and more flexible financing solutions to respond with operational resilience in weathering tough economic conditions.
Said Mr Khor: “Axiata’s focus on providing financial services for the under-served, unbanked and under-insured customer segment also resonates with our business strategy.”
“By leveraging Axiata’s network and digital capabilities and partnering with them, we want to grow our reach into new customer segments to provide for their financial needs and ultimately improve their lives. We are excited to have the opportunity to strengthen our collaboration to deliver more value to its growing customer base by providing our protection and insurance solutions for better financial security and peace of mind,” he said.
In addition to Boost and Aspirasi, Axiata Digital’s DFS business will include Boost Indonesia and Trust Axiata Digital (a joint venture with a local bank in Bangladesh). Axiata Digital’s DFS will also serve as a launchpad for bringing digital financial services to other Axiata markets.