ADQ has announced that it has secured in-principle approval from the central bank of the UAE to launch a new digital banking platform called Wio.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the digital lender will offer tailored products and services to customers in the UAE. A beta version of the service will be rolled out soon that will initially focus on small and medium-sized businesses.

The initiative involves an investment of around $626.18m (AED2.3bn) plus in-kind contribution.

Investments holding firms ADQ and Alpha Dhabi own a combined 65% stake in Wio. Telecom and technology conglomerate Etisalat and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) hold 25% and 10% stakes respectively.

ADQ CEO Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi said: “As part of our efforts to future-proof Abu Dhabi’s economy, we are committed to enhancing the financial services sector. By delivering secure, transparent and seamless access to a cutting-edge, customer-centric digital banking platform, Wio’s unique business model will further strengthen the UAE’s digital economy that is already supported by robust infrastructure and progressive regulations.”

Alpha Dhabi managing director and CEO Hamad Salem Mohamed Al-Ameri said: “The upcoming launch of Wio will be significant for Abu Dhabi as it will help establish the emirate’s leadership in financial services in the digital age.

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“Our $231.42m (AED850m) investment in Wio is part of the strategy we announced last December to invest in promising sectors within and outside the UAE. Wio presents a strong investment opportunity for Alpha Dhabi, and we look forward to working together to support its growth.”