The mobile lending apps have become popular in Kenya thanks to the convenience, flexibility and ease of getting loans. The only downside of these loans is higher interest rate which in turn hugely benefit the owners of the apps.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Yahui Zhou – the Chinese billionaire behind the popular Kenyan mobile lending apps and Opera Mini.
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Yahui Zhou is a renowned Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur. He is famously known worldwide as the founder of Kunlul Tech Co Limited (formerly Bejing Kunlul Tech Co Limited) – one of the largest web game developers in Asia. He established the company in 2008 and served as Executive Director and General Manager up to March 2011 before he assumed the role of chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
In 2015, Zhou led the company to go public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and a year later it acquired a 60 percent stake in gay dating app Grindr. In February 2016 a consortium of investors led by Zhou Yahui acquired Opera Software with Bejing Kunlun getting a 48 percent stake effectively enabling him become its CEO. In March 2019, Beijing Kunlul was forced to sell Grindr by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
CFIUS alleged that Grindr had become a national security threat since the app contained sensitive information of Americans including location and HIV Status which could be accessed by the company’s offices in China. It was sold in March 2020 to San Vincente Acquisition LLC for USD 608 Million. A month later, Zhou Yahui resigned as Chairman of Beijing Kunlun to focus on his fintech company Opera and payment platform which has its operations in Africa primarily Nigeria and Kenya. Aside from his businesses, the billionaire hit headlines as he reached one of the most expensive divorce settlements in China. This was after he gave his ex-wife Li Qiong shares in his company worth USD1.1 Billion (about Ksh119 billion).
Money Lending Apps
After leaving Beijing Kunlun, he established Oplay Digital Services which owns three Kenyan firms that offer loans through mobile phone apps. The companies offer loans without any collateral or security. The mobile lending apps include Okash, Opesa and Credit Hela. Opay is registered in Hong Kong but with subsidiaries across the globe. It owns Tenspot Pesa Limited which launched the Okash digital lending app in March 2018.
It is through TenSpot Pesa Limited that O-Stream Credit Limited was established in November 4th 2019 which subsequently launched the third money lending app dubbed Credit Hela. He also owns Opera Limited which runs the popular Opera website in Kenya and Nigeria. Opera Limited is headquartered in Norway but it is formally registered in the Cayman Islands as reported by Nation. Cayman Island is a popular destination for businessmen and companies looking to lower their tax liabilities.
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