Fintech: how China is taking the lead

Investors pinned their hopes on China’s growing fintech companies: here’s how and why.

Investment in Asian fintech start-ups is set to hit a new record in the second quarter of 2016 according to FinanceAsia estimates, driven by the $4.5 billion raised by Alibaba-backed Ant Financial, which closed the world’s biggest private placement of shares for any internet start-up to date.

Investors poured money into China’s fintech companies, in part due to the continuing rapid growth in online retail sales even as the overall economy slowed.

In addition, China’s overall internet penetration is still lagging behind that of its developed market counterparts, suggesting to investors that the take-up still has lots of room to grow, especially through mobile devices.

In the three months to March, fintech companies in Asia (primarily Chinese companies) raised $2.6 billion in 36 transactions, more than those in Europe and North America combined. European fintech start-ups raised $0.3 billion via 47 deals, while companies in North America garnered $1.8 billion of fresh capital in 128 deals, according to CB Insights, a research firm.

According to FinanceAsia’s estimate based on public data, the amount of capital raised in Asia fintech companies will easily surpass the $6 billion mark, thanks to Ant Financial and a $1 billion Series A round by the financial affiliate of Suning, a retail giant in China.

Sources: iResearch; Credit Suisse estimates

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