Lufax expands into international markets

Although peer-to-peer lending platforms face stricter regulations in China, this hasn't stopped the expansion of Lufax into overseas markets.

Lu International, the Singapore-based subsidiary of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange (Lufax), is expanding its user base to corporate clients.

The company said in an email that OCBC Bank has become the first corporate client to access Lu International’s investment products on its digital platform, though it did not specify which products it provides to them.  

Lu International intends to attract more customers by letting them invest in private equity deals. The company sees growth there, and intends to offer its private equity product (to be launched by the year-end) with the option to invest at small ticket sizes. 

The Lufax subsidiary also offers financial products online which range from a minimum investment of $1 up to $150,000.

Lu International is expanding just as Lufax has completed $1.3 billion funding. Investors in the Series C round are international and include Qatar Investment Authority, Japan-based SBI Holdings, LionRock Capital, Russia-based Hermitage Capital Management and big-name houses like Macquarie Group, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Lufax has attracted investment as Beijing tightens regulations on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Around 218 peer-to-peer lending platforms shut down their services this summer and retail consumers are growing cautious about online financial products.

Although it is China's leading fintech and wealth management platform, Shanghai-based Lufax, which is a member of the Ping An Group, faces mounting pressure as the number of its Chinese clients decline. Overseas clients are needed if it wants to maintain a sustainable business.

Lu International now has more than 150,000 registered users. To attract more customers, the company plans to introduce a robo-advisory service in mid-2019 using Ping An’s technology. This should make it easier for retail customers to make investment decisions.

Kit Wong, chief executive of Lu International, said in an email to FinaneceAsia that the company's existing client base, most of which are retail customers, remains the company's main focus.

Wong also said the company is always prepared for and constantly updated on any financial regulations which could impact the business. But, as the company opens its doors to welcome corporate clients across Asia, it is also an exciting phase.  


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