Mobile loan apps have experienced significant growth and popularity in Kenya, with millions of Kenyans opting for quick and convenient access to loans. Interestingly, little is known about the individuals and companies behind these apps.
WoK highlights the three Chinese tycoons who own popular mobile lending apps in Kenya.
Yahui Zhou: Gaming Mogul Turned FinTech Entrepreneur
Yahui Zhou, a renowned figure in the gaming industry, has made a successful transition into the world of financial technology.
As the former CEO of Kunlun Tech Company Limited, he gained recognition for his gaming company and a highly publicized divorce settlement, where he gave his ex-wife shares of Kunlun Tech worth US$1.1 billion.
Zhou’s entrepreneurial journey led him to venture into the mobile loan app market in Kenya.
Loan Apps owned by Yahui Zhou
Under his leadership, Zhou established several lending apps, including Okash, Opesa, and Credit Hela, which have garnered widespread popularity among Kenyans seeking microloans.
Okash, launched on March 1, 2018, is one of his notable ventures. This app, operated by Tenspot Kenya Limited, offers microloans without the need for collateral or security. Within a short period, Okash generated significant revenue of US$1.7 million from 280,000 microloans, showcasing its rapid growth and appeal to borrowers.
With a 4.1-star rating, over 45,000 reviews, and more than one million downloads, Okash has become a trusted and widely used platform for accessing quick and convenient financing.
Robin Duan Wei: Microfinance Bank Investor
Robin Duan Wei, the sole owner of Wakanda network, has emerged as a key player in the Kenyan financial sector.
Wei’s notable investment includes acquiring an 85% shareholding in Choice Microfinance Bank Limited, a microfinance institution operating in Kajiado County, Kenya.
The approval of this acquisition by the Central Bank of Kenya indicates the growing presence and interest of Chinese investors in Kenya’s financial market.
Microfinance institutions in Kenya are adapting to the changing landscape by embracing digital systems for money transfer and expanding their services to cater to the evolving needs of borrowers.
Wei’s investment in Choice Microfinance Bank Limited demonstrates his confidence in Kenya’s financial sector and his desire to contribute to its growth and development.
Junjie Zhou has made significant contributions to Kenya’s mobile loan app market. He is associated with MIB Network, a company that launched two popular lending apps. These apps have gained substantial traction among Kenyan borrowers due to their fast and unsecured loan offerings.
Loan Apps owned by Junjie Zhou
iPesa and Kashway provide borrowers with flexible loan amounts ranging from Ksh 500 to Ksh 50,000, catering to the diverse financial needs of individuals.
These apps have garnered positive user ratings, with iPesa boasting a 4.4-star rating, 27,000 reviews, and over one million downloads. K
ashway, with its 4.4-star rating, 38,000 reviews, and one million plus downloads, has also established a strong presence in the mobile loan app market.
Through his ventures, Zhou has introduced innovative financing solutions that prioritize convenience, speed, and accessibility. By leveraging technology and data-driven approaches, Zhou aims to empower borrowers by providing them with quick access to credit, enabling them to meet their financial goals and bridge gaps in their financial lives.
Their Contribution to Digital Lending Ecosystem in Kenya
The involvement of Chinese entrepreneurs in Kenya’s mobile loan app market underscores the global nature of the fintech industry and the interconnectedness of economies.
The collaboration between Kenyan and Chinese innovators holds the potential to drive economic growth, financial inclusion, and technological advancement in both countries.
As Kenya continues to embrace digital financial solutions, the contributions of these visionary entrepreneurs are expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the financial sector and driving socioeconomic development.
Regulation of Digital Lending Market in Kenya
However, it’s important to note that the rapid growth of the mobile loan app market has raised concerns about high-interest rates and consumer protection. As the industry evolves, regulatory measures are being considered to ensure fair practices and safeguard the interests of borrowers.