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CK Hutchison offers Hong Kong's youth mobile loans with fintech tie-up

WeLab also gives smartphone buyers 60-month payment option

Buyers at CK Hutchison group stores will be able to spread out payments over up to 60 months, an option that makes it easy to pay for the latest smartphones.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- CK Hutchison Holdings has teamed with financial technology company WeLab to offer customers smartphone-based lending and financing services at the conglomerate's telecom and home appliance stores in Hong Kong.

WeLab provides mobile lending platforms in Hong Kong and mainland China, boasting 30 million users. Its services will become available at outlets operated by CK Hutchison group telecom provider Three and appliance retailer Fortress.

Buyers at those locations will be able to spread out payments over up to 60 months, an option geared to let young people with little cash on hand pay for the latest smartphones and other big-ticket items.

CK Hutchison and WeLab are considering expanding their partnership to stores in Indonesia, mainland China and Europe down the road.

WeLab aims to expand its customer base through CK Hutchison's network of more than 17,000 telecom and retail stores worldwide.

Founded in Hong Kong in 2013, WeLab uses big data to offer quick loans. It has also shown an interest in bringing its skills to the field of virtual banking, in which lenders forgo physical locations. Hong Kong's government recently received its first applications from companies seeking licenses to operate virtual banks.

CK Hutchison has passed the reins from tycoon Li Ka-shing to his son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi. The Hong Kong conglomerate has been proactive in adopting smartphone payments and other new technologies. It seeks to attract more young people, whose consumption is increasingly tied to smartphones, to its physical stores.

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