Singapore sovereign fund GIC recently led a $220 million funding round for Chinese alternative lending platform Dianrong as the company looks to focus on research and development in China. The funding may mean the platform is eyeing potential expansion throughout the continent, news reports said Wednesday (Aug. 2).
Dianrong also saw backing from CMIG Leasing and South Korean fund manager Simone Investment Managers. According to an interview with Dianrong co-chief executive Soul Htite in Reuters, the company will also use the investment to automate some branches across China.
“Now we’ve graduated to another level, so people that know finance are also seeing us as [a company] that is really going to be part of the finance industry,” Htite told Reuters.
Htite was also responsible for the creation of U.S. alternative lender LendingClub. Dianrong has also gained backing from Standard Chartered and Tiger Global Management, though this funding round surpasses its 2015 fundraising of $207 million.
The company launched in 2012 and operates across both consumer and business financing markets. Dianrong recently introduced a Hong Kong marketplace for Asian investors to purchase consumer loans. It acquired the asset origination operations under Quark Finance last month, adding 71 branches under the Dianrong name. The latest funding round will help Dianrong automate those branches, news reports said, and upgrade them with its technology.
“We’re going to increase our risk management capabilities and continue to automate,” Htite added. “We’re also going to speed up some of the R&D projects.”
In terms of global expansion, Htite told Reuters the company plans to focus on Asia for now.
“There are places that we definitely are going to go to, we just need to make sure we stay on our core strategy, which is China,” the executive said, adding that the firm is exploring expansion into Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia. “We’re in talks with partners in these countries already.”
While the company has no immediate IPO plans, Htite did say that if Dianrong were to pursue a public offering, it would do so in a way to benefit the Chinese people, whether it lists in Asia or abroad.
In March, Dianrong linked with FnConn to launch Chained Finance, a supply chain financing portal that uses blockchain technology to expand access to this type of corporate financing in China, especially to SMBs.