360 Finance, a fintech startup backed by the country’s security products provider Qihoo Technology, has filed with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an up to $200 million IPO this year.

Founded in July 2016 and spun off from the parent company in September 2018, 360 Finance is a digital consumer finance platform, which provides consumer finance products to prime and underserved borrowers.

A total of 22.5 million individual loans have originated through the platform as of the end of September 2018, representing RMB94.4 billion ($13.57 billion) in funds.

The compound quarter growth rate for accumulative users with an approved credit line and loan origination hit 90.5% and 80.4% respectively over the same period of time. The company had recorded its outstanding loan balance at RMB34.7 billion ($4.99 billion), according to its prospectus.

According to its current plan, 40% of the proceeds will be used in brand promotions to facilitate our long-term brand building and marketing efforts, 30% will be used in research and development as well as cultivating talents of our team, and the remaining 30% will be used in other general corporate purposes such as administrative expenses and potential acquisitions and strategic investments.

It’s interesting to note that Zhou Hongyi, CEO of 360 Group and chairman of 360 Finance, holds a 14.1% stake in indirectly through Aerovane Company Limited, a 360 subsidiary which is owned by his children.

The IPO filing comes two years after Qihoo 360 launched a $9.3 billion privatization plan in 2015 to delist from the US after trading on the market for over 5 years. The company was among a group of Chinese tech giants that have exited the U.S. stock exchanges in the hope for better valuations back home. The company returns to China’s A-share via a backdoor listing in November 2017.

360 Finance’s IPO comes at a time when China’s tech IPO craze is slowing down upon a cooling market.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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