Before heading to Shenzhen the LendIt China tour visited with representatives from the wealth management arm of CreditEase. CreditEase is one of the largest companies in fintech in China with over 45,000 employees. Yirendai, a CreditEase company is one of the largest p2p lenders in China but CreditEase has also transitioned to wealth management in a big way. Their product offerings span various types of funds across different asset classes including venture capital investments. CreditEase has a large branch network catering to high net worth investors in China.
After our meeting with CreditEase we headed to Metta to hear from various startups in Hong Kong. Participants on the tour spoke on a FinTech Kung Fu panel, giving short answers to questions about fintech broadly. Prosper President Ron Suber was interviewed and shared his entrepreneurial journey and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
We then crossed the boarder into Shenzehn where we visited Tencent, a large internet company in China. It was fascinating to learn about how they operate in China. Tencent is behind the enormously popular social networking app WeChat. They also were one of the first two companies to receive an online banking license in China with a company they have a majority stake in called WeBank. They are innovating across many verticals, but one thing that stood out was how they are partnering with banks to offer loans in their social networking app WeChat. Behind the scenes is an extremely innovative system to underwrite borrowers and combat fraud with social data. WeBank partners with banks to fund loans and allows them to cross sell on non-competitive products, but ultimately WeBank owns the customer. A good way to think about the uniqueness of Tencent’s strategy is to think what it would be like if Facebook were to have a banking license in the US. While this may sound like a strange move for a company that specializes in social media, after seeing a demo of the product Tencent has clearly executed it extremely well.
Live map showing active WeChat users
After meeting with Tencent, we made our way to the offices of Touna, which offers secured loans backed by cars and trucks. They focus on an underserved, second tier of consumers that the banks do not provide loans to. Our day wrapped up with a dinner hosted by Hongling Capital, who is among the leaders of p2p lending in China.