Online financial services is a massive opportunity for Chinese technology companies.
China’s second largest e-commerce company, JD.com, raised $1 billion in new funding for its consumer finance subsidiary, JD Finance.
Investors included Sequoia Capital China, China Harvest Investments, and China Taiping Insurance. The new financing values JD Finance at $7 billion, and the e-commerce giant will continue to have a majority stake in financial services company.
JD Finance provides a number of online financial services to consumers, start-ups, and companies in China. For example, JD recently partnered with U.S. startup ZestFinance to provide credit risk scores to Chinese lenders so they can extend credit to consumers. With the partnership, Chinese consumers shopping on JD.com are able to apply for a line of credit to buy items from the e-commerce site.
Financial services, including online banking, digital payments, and web-based lending, is gearing up to be massive opportunity for Chinese technology companies as the country’s middle class explodes in size. For example, the amount of mobile payments in China is expected to triple to $3 trillion in 2018 from $1 trillion in 2014, according to iResearch.
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But financial technology in China is already heating up with competitors.
An affiliate of JD.com’s main competitor Alibaba, Ant Financial, which operates Chinese online payment giant Alipay, also recently started operating its online bank, MYbank, and is reportedly looking to raise more funding before a public offering. Ant Financial was valued at $50 billion in its last round of funding in 2015.
Chinese technology juggernaut Tencent also offers a number of financial services to Chinese consumers, including a digital wallet called Tenpay.