What happened: Tencent Holdings has invested an undisclosed amount in Argentinian mobile payments app Uala, joining prominent investors including Goldman Sachs and billionaires George Soros and Steve Cohen. Uala will collaborate with the Chinese social media giant to further develop its app, company founder Pierpaolo Barbieri said. The Uala app allows users to transfer funds and make payments and purchases with Mastercard prepaid cards. Barbieri declined to reveal the investment amount but said it has significantly bumped up Uala’s valuation.
Why it’s important: Tencent’s move to take a stake in the fintech startup comes as direct foreign investments to Argentina slow amid market jitters. Argentina is moving through a recession following last year’s currency crisis and the presidential election in October could lead to greater uncertainty in the market. However, the country’s large unbanked population spells potential for mobile payments and digital finance. Other Chinese tech companies such as Didi Chuxing, Baidu, and Huawei have also made moves in South America in the past three years.