China, India deals lift Asian venture capital fintech financing to US$2.7b
Chinese online lender Tuandaiwang joins ranks of world’s 26 fintech unicorns – start-ups with a US$1 billion valuation
Mammoth deals in mainland China, Hong Kong and India lifted the total funding raised by venture capital-backed financial technology start-ups in Asia to US$2.7 billion across 67 transactions in the second quarter.
That was up from US$1.6 billion generated across 55 transactions in the same period last year, and marked the highest number of fintech deal activity in Asia for the past five quarters, according to a new report from venture capital research firm CB Insights.
“Asia saw a burst of fintech investment in the second quarter, putting total deals and funding back on pace to surpass 2016’s record at the current rate,” CB Insights said.
Overall funding raised by venture capital-backed fintech start-ups in Asia last year hit a record US$5.4 billion across 165 transactions, compared with US$4.8 billion over 162 transactions in 2015.
The region’s latest quarterly fintech tally surpassed the US$2 billion raised in North America and about US$500 million in Europe during the same period. The global total was US$5.2 billion over 251 deals.
“Globally, we talk to our clients about being the disruptor, not the disrupted, and we’ve found across Asia, that this isn’t a hard sell to communicate. The big institutions get it,” Piyush Singh, Accenture’s head of financial services business in Asia-Pacific, told the South China Morning Post.
“So it should come as no surprise that Japanese and Chinese firms are investing in the region to improve payment services, peer-to-peer lending and drive efficiencies in the back office.”
Seven mainland Chinese deals were ranked among Asia’s 10 largest fintech transactions in the second quarter, according to CB Insights.
It estimated fintech investment activity on the mainland reached nearly US$1 billion over 27 deals – the market’s highest number of transactions in the past five quarters.
“The market remains very focused on fintech,” KPMG China partner Egidio Zarella said in a statement.
Asia’s top-ranked fintech deal, however, was the US$1.4 billion investment made in May by Japanese telecommunications and internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp for a minority stake in One97 Communications, the parent of Indian digital payments giant Paytm.
That was followed by the US$292 million Series D, or fourth round, fundraising by mainland peer-to-peer lending platform operator Tuandaiwang in the same month. The backers of this deal were Shanghai-based China Minsheng Investment Group, Beijing Yisheng Innovation Technology and Beihai Hongtai Investment.
Tuandaiwang was valued at US$1.5 billion after that investment round, joining the ranks of the world’s 26 fintech unicorns – start-ups with a US$1 billion valuation.
The region’s third-largest fintech deal was the US$145.5 million Series-C funding raised last month by Hong Kong online brokerage firm Futu Securities International. The investment was led by online games titan Tencent Holdings, which was joined by Matrix Partners China and Sequoia Capital China.
The mainland is also home to the world’s largest venture-backed fintech unicorn by valuation, according to CB Insights.
An associate of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company, Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange, the mainland’s biggest online lender known as Lufax, had an US$18.5 billion valuation as of June 30.