The consumer finance market in China is projected to reach 37.4 trillion yuan ($5.75 trillion) by 2019. A recent report by iResearch Consulting Group noted that the Internet-enabled consumer finance segment is expected to reach 3.4 trillion yuan in 2019 from 6 billion yuan in 2013. However, Fintechs in China have demonstrated how an explosive growth in ecommerce and a business model well integrated with ecommerce could be a launchpad for Fintech Fairy tales.
Please note that the numbers in the infograph are about a year old. But they convey the message that a strong ecommerce ecosystem has provided a sound base for China’s Consumer Fintech giants. I have picked four of them for discussion today.
JD Finance was founded in October 2013 and is engaged in seven lines of business: supply chain finance, consumer finance, crowdfunding, wealth management, payment services, insurance and securities services. JD Finance’s services include JingBaobei, its microloan platform, Baitiao, its crowdfunding platform, Jintiao and Xiaobai, which provides wealth management services.
Apart from the plethora of services they provide in the consumer Fintech space, they have also recently launched a fund that focuses on early and growth stage investments called Qianshu Capital. JD Finance is backed by Alibaba’s primary competition – JD.com and Tencent. They were recently valued at about $7 Billion and have the backing of some of the top VCs like Sequoia.
Zhong An Insurance
Zhong An was founded in 2013 and offered property insurance, cargo insurance, liability and credit insurance. In about 5 years, Zhong An has risen as the largest insurance company in the world with about 500 Million customers. Their first and most successful product is an ecommerce returns insurance, which they launched on Alibaba. This insurance covered merchants when customers where dissatisfied with the goods. As a result merchants can bypass Alibaba’s deposit requirements.
Zhong An was the first Fintech firm to receive the insurance permit in China. They have grabbed the first mover’s advantage, and have pioneered this space in China. However other players like Ant Financial and JD Finance are launching their own insurance products, that may be a challenge for Zhong An to overcome.
WeCash was founded in 2014 and they are a big data credit assessment platform that uses machine-learning algorithms to provide credit assessments in less than 15 minutes. They have developed AI solutions to evaluate consumer credit for loans in a range of industries, including agriculture, aesthetic medicine, home rental, cars, insurance and travel, helping to facilitate more than $2.2 billion in loans.
They use analytics on mobile data from about 600 million mobile internet users,. Wecash is able to provide extensive credit assessments and build predictive models for customers’ credit risk.
“Our core risk-pricing engine is a dynamic risk model combined with artificial intelligence system. This engine collects and processes up to 12,000 data points which are then classified into 9 categories of key user behaviours to evaluate the credit of each loan applicant. In merely 3 seconds, our engine can compute an applicant’s credit and risk scoring, reducing non-performing loans for partner financial institutions by 70 percent or higher”
Tang Xuewei, Chief Risk Office at WeCash.
Yirendai is the consumer finance arm of the P2P lending firm CreditEase. The Company provides a solution to address investors and individual borrower demand in China. They have an online platform that automates the process of matching borrowers with investors and execute loan transactions.
Yirendai have developed a proprietary risk management system, which enables the Company to effectively assess the creditworthiness of borrowers, price the risks associated with borrowers, and offer quality loan investment opportunities to investors. Yirendai’s online marketplace provides borrowers with quick and convenient access to consumer credit at competitive prices and investors with easy and quick access to an alternative asset class with attractive returns.
In Q2 2017, Yirendai did about US$1,208 million of loans to about 140 K individual borrowers on its online marketplace. That is a YoY growth of 80%, where 70.9% of the borrowers were acquired from online channels; 51.2% of the loan volume was originated from online channels and nearly 100% of the online volume was facilitated through mobile.
During the same period , Yirendai managed about 200K investors with total investment amount of about US$1,700 million, 100% of which was facilitated through its online platform and 90% of which was facilitated through its mobile application.
A wave of innovation is particularly effective in adding value to Entrepreneurs, Investors and Consumers when it has an ecosystem that it can find a sound base in. Fintech in China has become so big so fast because the hard work was already done during the Ecommerce boom in the country. While I discussed four firms who have gone down this path successfully, I believe there are dozens more to talk about in China Consumer Fintech.
Arunkumar Krishnakumar is a Fintech thought leader and an investor.
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