China-based internet giant Tencent laid out $300 million to acquire a 5% stake in buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay.
The move is part of a strategic partnership that will offer Afterpay easy access and collaboration opportunities with Tencent, a Hong Kong-based fintech giant with a $500 billion market capitalization. In comparison, Afterpay’s market capitalization on the Australian Stock Exchange tops just over $8 billion.
Afterpay was founded in 2014 by Nicholas Molnar and Anthony Eisen, who now serves as the company’s CEO. The Australia-based company has 4.6 million users and its revenues totaled over $160 million last year.
“Afterpay’s approach stands out to us not just for its attractive business model characteristics, but also because its service aligns so well with consumer trends we see developing globally in terms of Afterpay’s customer centric, interest free approach as well as its integrated retail presence and ability to add significant value for its merchant base,” said Tencent Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell.
Tencent’s move comes shortly after its rival Ant Financial took a minority stake in Afterpay competitor Klarna. Afterpay has 3x the web traffic of Klarna and 1.5x the traffic of its other major competitor Affirm.
The buy-now-pay-later segment of fintech has been heating up this year, despite– or perhaps because of– the current economic and health crises. A few weeks back, Goldman Sachs launched MarcusPay, a tool to help borrowers make purchases ranging from $750 to $10,000 and pay for them over the course of 12 to 18 months.