Fintech startups get top valuations among China’s unicorns

Among China’s startups that are valued at $1 billion or more, about five in the top 10 are fintech firms. That shows the fast-growing influence of fintech in the country, driven by its widespread use of smartphones.

The largest among them is Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s financial affiliate, with a worth of $60 billion. Lufax, China’s biggest peer-to-peer lender, comes in next at $18.5 billion, according to a new report by iResearch that ranks 300 companies.

JD Capital backed peer-to-peer lending platform Jiedaibao comes in at 8th rank in the top 10 unicorns list, with $7.7 billion valuation.

China’s first online insurer, Shanghai-based Zhong An Online P&C Insurance, is ranked ninth and was valued at $7.6 billion. Zhong An had led the top 100 fintech startups list released last year by KPMG and Sydney-based investment firm H2 Ventures.

JD Capital, backed by JD.com Inc., Alibaba’s largest competitor, rounded off the top 10 with a valuation of $7.2 billion.

Other companies in the top 10 include Xiaomi Inc, China’s fourth largest phone maker, valued at $45 billion. Didi Chuxing, the ride hailing behemoth that is the biggest challenger to Uber‘s plans of Asia dominance, made the list with nearly $28 billion in valuation after its massive funding round that closed last month.

Meituan-Dianping, DJI and Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, took the remaining spots in the ranking.

Startups working in internet finance grabbed most of the top 100 spots with 44 companies on the list. Internet finance has grown rapidly in China — the world’s largest smartphone market — over the past two years, and includes online payments, peer-to-peer lending, equity crowdfunding, wealth management and online insurance. China’s central bank said in April that it will introduce tougher regulations and will undertake a one-year crack down on increasing cases of fraud in the sector.

E-commerce startups come next, with 36 companies in the ranking. China is the world’s largest e-commerce market, and expected to grow to $1.1 trillion by 2020, far ahead than fast-growing India, where e-commerce will be worth $75 billion in the same period according to Forrester.

Companies based out of Beijing made up for 179 spots, or nearly 60 per cent of the list. That shows the capital has been able to attract more entrepreneurs than other cities. Shanghai has the second-most number of startups in the list, with 46, followed by 33 in Guangdong province.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.