ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, announced that the Central Bank of the UAE had granted in-principle approval to launch a new digital banking platform, which will be called “Wio”.

With its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, Wio will enhance the capital’s growing reputation as a global financial services centre at the leading edge of digital banking.

Led by FinTech experts, banking professionals and technology specialists, Wio will offer customers in the UAE a fully digital banking choice with tailored products and services to meet their lifestyles and needs. Wio will soon launch a Beta version that will initially provide small and medium-sized businesses with an innovative, engaging customer-centric experience underpinned by security, transparency and convenience.

The total invested capital in Wio is AED2.3 billion plus in-kind contribution.

The digital banking platform’s primary shareholders ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, one of the fast-growing investment holding companies in the Middle East, own 65 percent. Additionally, Etisalat holds 25 percent, and the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) holds 10 percent.

Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of ADQ, said that Wio’s unique business model will further strengthen the UAE’s digital economy supported by robust infrastructure and progressive regulations.

Hamad Salem Mohamed Al-Ameri, Managing Director and CEO of Alpha Dhabi, commented, “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. Our AED850 million 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.”

For his part, Khalifa Hassan Al Shamsi, CEO of Etisalat Consumer Digital, said, “The fintech industry is a key driver of digital transformation in the UAE and has grown exponentially due to changing consumer payment behaviour and new tech-driven convenient offerings. Customers are increasingly adopting contactless payments in physical stores and using fully digital financial products. Building on our fintech portfolio, the Wio partnership is part of our strategy to meet the growing consumer demands with 360-degree products and services that enhance their daily digital lives.”

Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of FAB, stated, “FAB is proud to be a partner at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s digital agenda, creating broader value for our stakeholders through strategic partnerships and initiatives built to innovate and inspire the future of financial services in the UAE. The launch of Wio represents an important next step in that journey, bringing a new and innovative approach to banking.”

Pronounced “wee-oh”, the name Wio describes the company’s active purpose of ‘opening new paths so you can go further. Putting customers at the heart of everything it does, the ‘W’ is the shape of your path and your journey that Wio enables through digital, the “i” represents the input, and the “o” represents output.