Chinese investors have keen interest in African fintech. OPay, the payments service operating in Nigeria, has raised $120 million in a Series B round led mainly by Chinese investors including familiar names like Sequoia China, IDG Capital and Source Code Capital.
Founded in 2018 by web browser developer Opera, OPay — which focuses on developing digital payments solutions to promote financial inclusion — had previously raised $50 million in June of this year, according to Opera’s spokesperson. Opera’s OPay reportedly intends to use the new Series B $120 million round to scale and extend its digital payments solution beyond Nigeria to Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.
OPay’s round follows on the heels of another major funding round by Chinese investors in an African-focused fintech startup after PalmPay raised $40 million in a seed round from Shenzhen-based Transsion Holdings, the top selling phone maker in Africa.
OPay has built a suite of internet-based commercial products in Nigeria around its financial utility. These include motorcycle ride-hail app ORide, OFood delivery service and OLeads SME marketing and advertising vertical. Since launch, ORide, its motorcycle hailing service, has expanded aggressively by running heavily-subsidized promotions to edge out other players in Nigeria’s competitive bike-hailing space. Opera says the latest funding round will help OPay “further accelerate its expansion across its multiple verticals.”
While investors are possibly looking to replicate the successes of WeChat Pay and Ali Pay in China across several African markets, there’s also the option of fueling quick growth in an Africa-focused fintech company with an eye on a major IPO or acquisition by a global payments company.