Dianrong, a leading Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform, announced today the closure of a massive $207 million USD of Series C financing, marking the largest funding round in China’s internet lending and financing industry.
The funding is co-led by Standard Chartered Bank and China Fintech Fund (CFF), a fintech company equity investor founded by China Minsheng International Capital and Guangfa Investments, and followed by comprehensive leasing industry group Bohai Leasing. Institution investors from the previous two rounds also participated.
[Update] (Dianrong revealed on Sept. 9 a further detail of the new funding at its Hong Kong press conference. Max Giant Capital, the investment institution founded by Katherine Tsang, ex-chairwoman of Standard Chartered Bank Greater China, also joined this round.)
The current round lengthened Dianrong’s all-star backer list which already includes renowned investors like Tiger Global Management, an early investor in Alibaba and JD.com, Hong Kong’s leading financial institution Sun Hung Kai & Co. Limited, and Northern Lights VC.
The landmark investment will be used to solve what Soul Hite, the company founder and CEO called the PPPP, which stands for People-Process-Product-Publish. Dianrong plans to expand the team by hiring 2,500 to 3,000 employees to add to its existing 1,700 staff in the next eighteen months, said Soul.
“While the team is growing, we are also going to invest in management and consulting in a bid to help the team to operate in a seamless way. Product development and branding are also our major focuses in the future.”
Founded in 2012 by Lending Club co-founder Soul Hite, Dianrong focuses on two distinct businesses now. Its online marketplace facilitates personal and business loans by connecting good quality borrowers to millions of potential lenders in China through our powerful, easy to use and secure internet infrastructure. The banking solution focuses on assisting large financial institutions to transform their operations from a traditional model to a modern internet finance enabled businesses.
It is worth nothing that the investors of this round include some of China’s top commercial banks and financial institutions. Their investment in online financial companies highlights the boom within this sector in China, as well as the changing perception of online financing among traditional financial entities.
“Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) rarely invests in early-stage companies” said Wei Zhu, Managing Director and Global Co-Head of SCPE. “we typically focus on growth and late-stage companies. Dianrong is quite an exceptional case. Standard Chartered has a different investment strategy than typical VC funds.”
“We do not invest in a lot of companies, but emphasize on high quality investments and overall success rate; we would only like to invest in the best and most differentiated company in the industry,” he said.
Dianrong’s co-founder Kevin Guo denied the possibility of an IPO in the near future. “Instead of aiming for sprawling growth in the short term and a quick IPO, we prefer more sustainable development that will generate more benefits for our users. We have reached consensus with our investors who fully understand our initiatives.”
Image credit: Dianrong