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Nigeria’s OPay shuts down e-commerce services to focus on Fintech

Nigeria , 03 Jul 2020

Opera-founded Nigerian company OPay has closed down a host of its e-commerce and transport focused services to focus on its Fintech offering.

Launched by Opera in May 2018, OPay is one of the best funded companies in Africa, having raised around US$200-million in investment since then, most recently a US$120- million Series B round led by Chinese investors in November last year.

The company has been working towards becoming Africa’s first real “super app”, and had rolled out a host of different offerings across verticals such as e-hailing and food delivery as well as a variety of financial services offerings.

Not all of this has been a huge success, however, with a number of its offerings, such as OBus, ORide and OTrike, having already shut down, the latter two as a result of the Lagos State motorcycle taxi ban earlier this year. Its lending service OKash, meanwhile, had to be withdrawn after controversy over its lending policies.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in Nigeria, OPay has now confirmed more of its services will no longer be operational as it focuses primarily on its Fintech offerings.

“We can confirm that some of our business units including the ride-hailing services ORide, OCar as well as our logistics service OExpress will be put on pause. This is largely due to the harsh business conditions which have affected many Nigerian companies, including ours, during this COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown, and government ban,” the company said in a statement.

Globally, OPay said, ride-sharing businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. It said it had already been pivoting away from the space, however.

“Several months ago, foreseeing this issue, OPay had already taken pre-emptive steps to restructure our business focus away from rides. It is worthy to note that this final restructuring has minimal impact on OPay as a whole business,” the statement read.

“It is important to clarify that ride-sharing had always been only one part, and not a major part of OPay’s diversified business in Nigeria. In fact, OPay had been investing more and seeing accelerated growth in its commitment to Nigeria’s financial and technology inclusion,” the company said, adding that in this regard it had been seeing continued demand during the pandemic.

OPay said there is still high demand for flexible and easy financial services in Nigeria, and it will continue to do more for its customers.

“OPay will continue to invest and grow in the e-commerce space, aligning its customer and business e-commerce units which will continue to operate and grow. We believe a financial platform coupled with goods’ platform will form the future of Nigeria’s technology development,” it said.

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