China has been looking to create a credit scoring system seen in many developed economies like the U.S. and the U.K.; initially asking 8 top companies to be involved, though they found it hard to form as companies were unwilling to share proprietary data with competitors; the PBoC is now tasked with having a industry wide system that does not favor giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Source.
While Alibaba’s Sesame Credit has increased access to loans in China the government recently told them to stop a national rollout of the program; John Gapper from the FT writes that there are three main issues behind social credit scores in China; technology companies have a more liberal attitude than banks when it comes to data; social credit scores seem to promote spending and more credit where as a traditional FICO score rewards a user for self control; the scores are proprietary to the companies who created them like Alibaba did with Sesame Credit. Source.
In this conversation, Max Friedrich of ARK Invest, Will and Lex break down Ant Group’s highly anticipated IPO.
Ant, a spinout from Alibaba and the parent of Alipay, one of China’s leading payments companies, filed papers to IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Max, Will and Lex dig into Ant’s business, from the origins to today, discuss growth opportunities and potential headwinds and explore the multi-faceted relationships between Ant and other big tech companies and national governments.
We cannot understate how impressive Ant Financial has become, connecting 700 million people and 80 million merchants in China, with payments, savings, wealth management and insurance products integrated in one package. The company also highlights the likely road for traditional banks — as underlying risk capital, without much technology or client management.
This week, we look at:
China’s Five Year Plan, the industrial logic of the system, and its ramifications for blockchain and fintech in the country
The regulatory challenges faced by Chinese tech companies, including the resignation of Ant Group’s CEO and the anti-competition fines for Tencent
The growth path of the e-CNY digital currency, as well as Beijing’s enterprise blockchain powering the city infrastructure and governance
Footnote: Stripe worth $95 billion, closing $600 million investment
The fund, which was set up as storage for excess cash from online spending, has now reached $165.6 billion in assets under management; this now exceeds the amount of JP Morgan's largest money market fund which is $150 billion; since the fund is so big it allows Ant Financial, Alibaba affiliate, to negotiate better rates with banks for capital; while many believe the likes of Google and Facebook could enter the market they have yet to do so. Source
Tencent and Alibaba have built firms that enable them to write significant checks and have crowded out private equity and venture capital firms; SoftBank is the only other regional player on a similar level; they are not always driven by returns like traditional investors and this allows them to define success differently; some private equity firms are beginning to wonder if they are beginning to abuse their power; if a company receives investment from one of these giants they are also not held to the same pressures of a traditional investor like going public; these giants are helping to push innovation across the region and globe, but many are starting to ask at what cost. Source.
The main driver of today's entry is the news -- which has largely percolated -- that ConsenSys acquired Quorum from J.P. Morgan, as well as received an investment from the bank in the company. There is a lot of jargon in the blockchain industry, and I want to try to pull this news apart to explain why it is interesting both to incumbent financial services players, as well as meaningful to the developing decentralized finance industry.
Alibaba spin-off Ant Financial and non profit online lender QCash won the second annual FT fintech awards; they were selected from a group of over 200 companies in the fintech space and the winners were announced at the FT Banking Summit; both companies were rewarded for innovation and providing increased access to financial services. Source.
This week, we cover these ideas:
Klarna’s $640 million raise and its $45 billion valuation, and how its business model arbitrages the payments revenue pool to build a lending business
Pinduoduo’s growth path to a $150B marketcap, and the links between shopping, media, and financial mechanisms that help it compete with Alibaba
A comparison of approaches to growth and economics
Implications for crypto assets for capturing “the real economy”
Klarna is raising $640 million on a $45 billion private valuation, with over $1 billion in net operating income. The buy-now-pay-later company has over 90 million active customers and 250,000 merchants. It was founded in Sweden in 2005.
On the other side of the ocean, Chinese ecommerce company Pinduoduo is beating Alibaba with 820 million active buyers, generates over $3 billion in revenue per quarter, connects buyers to 12 million farmers, and has a market capitalization of $150 billion. It was founded in China in 2015.