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Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings has invested in South African digital bank TymeBank. CDC Group has also invested, to take the bank’s series-B capital raise to US$180 million (R2.9 billion).

The investments from Tencent and CDC are valued at an additional $70 million, TymeBank said in a statement on Tuesday. CDC Group is the UK’s development finance institution.

The finalisation of the investments is subject to normal conditions precedent and regulatory approvals.

Tyme, which has its roots in South Africa, is using the series-B funding to grow TymeBank locally and to fund GOTyme in the Philippines, where it has secured a digital bank licence in partnership with Filipino conglomerate Gokongwei Group. It said it may also expand into other markets.

The first part of Tyme’s series-B raise was concluded earlier this year when it secured $110 million from Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners, and the Gokongwei’s JG Summit Holdings.

“The investments will enable Tyme to use its digital infrastructure to accelerate the roll-out of financial services to TymeBank’s historic mass-market customer base. The two investors’ capital and expertise will also be used to improve Tyme’s ability to manage risk and support Tyme’s expansion into markets where CDC has a presence,” the bank said.

“CDC’s investment in Tyme in South Africa is part of its strategy to support businesses that provide vital infrastructure, such as digital financial services, to traditionally underserved groups.”

Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital remains Tyme’s majority shareholder.

TymeBank has acquired four million customers in 32 months since founding. It has partnered with Pick n Pay and Boxer as well as the Zion Christian Church.

It also recently partnered with TFG (The Foschini Group) to diversify its customer base into higher-income segments and to provide a “viable pathway to responsible consumer lending”.

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