Zhong An Online Property Insurance, the first and the largest online insurer by number of customers, is seeking up to $1 billion in a first private round of funding, two sources familiar with the situation said late Thursday.
The lead seven investors include CDH, Value Partners, Saif, Hillhouse, Morgan Stanley, CICC and Keywise.
The stake sold in this round represents around 15% to 20% of Zhong An’s total share capital, one of the sources told FinanceAsia, and values Zhong An at between $5 billion and $6.7 billion.
The private round of funding is expected to close mid-April and the funds will be used for expansion of new products, according to both sources.
Zhong An was founded by Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Ping An chairman Ma Mingzhe, and Tencent chairman Pony Ma in September 2013. Ping An is the country’s second-largest insurer with a focus on mobile internet finance, while China's two internet giants are increasingly tapping into their vast customer base to expand into online and offline financial services.
As of November 9, 2014, Zhong An had secured 630 million insurance policies and served more than 150 million clients.
China is encouraging the growth of innovative internet and private financial businesses, leading to a brisk financing market for both sectors. The country's regulators have recently also loosened some of the restrictions holding back internet finance, even allowing companies that haven’t recorded profits to get listed.
Alibaba’s financial services company Ant Financial Services Group is looking to list in the A-share market in the next few years with estimated market value of $50 billion, while Ping An’s peer-to-peer lending platform Lufax announced on March 16 that it just completed financing of Rmb3 billion ($488 million).