The world’s most valuable fintech startup is now Chinese. Lu.com, a Chinese peer-to-peer personal loan platform, finished a USD 900 million Series B financing in December 2015, the tech channel of Tencent News reported on Friday.
According to a fundraising document revealed by Tencent News, after this round of funding, Lu.com’s valuation will be boosted to USD 18.5 billion, which is double the USD 8.9 billion valuation U.S. P2P financing platform Lending Club had with its IPO in 2014. The document leaked also indicates that Lu.com has already outperformed the American company becoming the global number one in the sector.
Lu.com was founded in Shanghai in September 2011 with registered capital of RMB 837 million (USD 131 million) and with the original name Lufax. It later changed its name to Lu.com in September 2015.
Lu.com finished its last round of funding at the end of 2014 with a valuation of USD ten billion. Investors participating at the last round of financing included BlackPine Private Equity Partners, CDH Investments and China International Capital Corporation’s private-equity division, according to a news release featured on Lu.com.
The company achieved a revenue of USD 100 million in 2014 and was estimated to have a revenue of USD 706 million in 2015. The fundraising document revealed by Tencent shows that the company is expecting a balance of income and expenditure in 2016 and a net profit in 2017. Lu.com is planning on publically listing as early as the latter half of 2016, according to Bloomberg.
Prior to this round of financing, Lu.com’s primary shareholder was Chinese commercial bank Ping An Bank, which holds 47.49% of the company’s shares. The Ping An Group also owns leading insurance agencies and asset managers in China, which support Lu.com in terms of assets supplies and customer acquisition. Revenue coming from Ping An Group accounted for 30% of total capital managed by Lu.com in 2014 and 12% for 2015, Tencent News reported.
Different from Lu.com, other internet financial platforms are primarily backed by tech companies instead of financial groups. Ant Financial, which is a member of the Alibaba Group, has a valuation of USD 45 billion and is also planning on going public in 2016. JD Finance, the financial affiliate to China’s second largest e-commerce platform, is planning on going public as well, with a valuation of RMB 46 billion (USD seven billion).
(Top photo from Baidu Images.)