Airasia’s BigPay secures up to US$100m financing from South Korea’s SK Group

By HARIZAH KAMEL 

BIGPAY, an Airasia Digital portfolio company, has finalised up to US$100 million in financing from South Korean conglomerate, SK Group, the first of its kind for any portfolio company within airasia Digital. 

The sizable funding from one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates and tech innovator will further strengthen AirAsia Group Bhd’s digital endeavour as it accelerates the scope of growth for its digital businesses, including logistics and financial services. 

“I am excited for this great partnership with SK Group and for their belief in BigPay’s mission to bring inclusivity to financial services. This is the first investment into one of our portfolio digital companies and a testament to our digital growth story – we don’t anticipate it being the last.  

“SK Group is second to none when it comes to innovation and experience, so we truly believe they can share their expertise and know-how so that this investment can mark the beginning of a new exciting digital banking era,” AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement today.

The announcement comes a few weeks after BigPay announced its application for a digital banking license where it reiterated the commitment to build a connected financial future for Malaysian consumers and entrepreneurs. 

BigPay CEO and co-founder Salim Dhanani said their ambition has always been to establish BigPay as one of the largest challenger banks in Southeast Asia and that closing this financing round gives them the ability to build out offerings, accelerate product development and scale.  

“Our ethos has always been clear. We want to launch financial products that are not only simple and convenient but transparent and accessible to everyone. We are ready to embark on the next stage of our journey with SK Group and we will continue to provide fair financial services to communities across Southeast Asia,” he said. 

Meanwhile, chief representative of SK Malaysia, Jung Kyu Kim said, “We are happy to be joining forces with BigPay as we’ve had a keen interest in fintech and digital banking for a long time. SK Group will be able to make a significant contribution to BigPay in both technical and consumer service aspects given our experience and resources”. 

Founded in 2017, BigPay is present in both Malaysia and Singapore. Its current offering includes a prepaid debit card which can be used to spend anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted, local and international money transfers, micro-insurance, bill payments and a budgeting tool.  

BigPay has launched a series of products for its users focused on long-term financial health and accessibility. 

BigPay has established itself in Malaysia as one of the leading providers of digital banking services, and plans to expand its product sets, along with growing the model to new markets.  

“Thailand and the wider Asean is next, but we’ll be launching key products before that – with fully digital personal loans, transactional lending and an offering for micro, small and medium enterprises” added Salim.