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June 29, 2022
Finance Technologies

Tencent takes a gamble on Argentina’s Uala

Tencent Holdings is bucking the trend of falling foreign direct investment in Argentina by taking a stake in mobile payments app Uala, reports Jane Connolly.

Championing financial inclusion in Argentina

The Chinese internet giant has joined previous investors Goldman Sachs, George Soros and Steve Cohen, Bloomberg reports, in helping Uala to develop in South America’s second-largest economy.

Tencent does not have many ventures in Latin America; its latest was a $90 million investment in Brazilian fintech Nubank in October.

In light of Argentina’s recession, last year’s currency crisis and the looming presidential election in October, investors have become nervous about the country’s prospects.

However, Uala’s founder and CEO, Pierpaolo Barbieri, tells Bloomberg: “Tencent invests because it’s betting on what will happen in Argentina over the next ten years, rather than what will happen in the next six months.”

Despite less than half of Argentina’s population having a bank account, Uala sees potential in the country, having issued more than 500,000 prepaid cards by December 2018. The company is likely to start lending through its mobile app later this year.

Tencent takes a gamble on Argentina’s Uala
Tencent takes a gamble on Argentina’s Uala
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