JimuBox (Jimu means building block in Chinese), an online peer-to-peer lending service, announced today it has raised US$37.19 million in Series B funding led by Xiaomi Corporation, the Chinese smart device and Internet service company, and Shunwei China Internet Fund, a venture capital fund co-founded by Xiaomi CEO and co-founder Lei Jun.
Other investors joining this round include Matrix Partners China, Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd (Vertex Group), Magic Stone Alternative Investments and existing investor Ventech China. Jimu Box announced some US$10 million in Series A funding from Ventech China in February this year.
JimuBox, launched in August 2013, is founded by Peng Xiaomei, former COO at travel search Qunar, Dong Jun, Wei Wei and Barry Freeman. The service is available on its website, iOS and Android.
There were about 1200 peer-to-peer lending sites in China as of July 2014, according to the latest report released by Chinese online financial product search service Rong360. A total of more than 440,000 investors were active on about 300 sites. More than 60 sites were found to be fraudulent or closed down in the first seven months of this year.
As Internet-based finance is regarded as one of the next big things in China, most big Chinese Internet companies have tapped into it. Most of them, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Sohu and Sina, have begun selling mutual funds through their Web-based services or mobile apps. Some new financial products tailored for the Internet have been created, such as Alibaba’s Yuebao.
Xiaomi won’t get left behind. It won’t be long before users can buy online financial products on MIUI, the custom Android system developed by the company for its own hardware products and for free download. The company also registered a payment company at the end of last year.