Chinese offline payment solution provider Lakala has secured 1.5 billion RMB ($240 million USD) in funding at a valuation of 10 billion RMB ($1.6 billion USD).
The round has come from China Taiping Life Insurance Group, China Reinsurance, China Continent Insurance, and The Cilvil Aviation Development Fund, according to an internal e-mail from the company’s CEO Sun Taoran. Sun added that online recruitment site 51job and software company Glodon are the founding investors of their credit system Kaola Credit.
Lakala, founded in 2005, is one of China’s leading innovators in the e-payment sector, focusing on software solutions for electronic payments, utility billing and digital loyalty programs. It also holds a series of patented terminal devices, like household card payment devices and card-to-mobile payment devices, covering convenience stores, supermarkets, shopping malls, and community groceries.
The company claims to have amassed more than 100 million individual users with over 3 million brick-and-mortar shops in 300 Chinese cities using its payment solutions. Some 2 trillion RMB worth of payment transactions were processed on Lakala’s platform as of this year, according data released by the company.
As code scanning with smartphone becomes a more natural fit for mobile payments, the company’s devices are becoming outdated. Moreover, internet giants such as Alipay and WeChat Payment are pushing consumers into mobile payments via their own e-payment platforms.
By way of differentiating itself, Lakala has transformed into an online financial group over the past two years, covering payment, credit, financial management and P2P business. The company is also expected to be in the first batch of Chinese credit reporting institutions to obtain the license for individual credit reporting business.
In the meantime, Lakala’s financial services unit, which appeals to be following a model set out by Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group, is going to face tough competition.
Lakala now has nearly 40 enterprise or individual investors including Legend Holdings, parent company of Lenovo and Xiaomi’s co-founder and CEO Lei Jun. The company is preparing to go public on China’s stock exchange market, Sun Taoran has disclosed in the past.
Image credit: Lakala