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China lands 5 spots in list of top innovators

By Angus Mcneice | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2016-10-30 15:19

China cemented its status as a leading international force in financial technology this year, claiming five of the top 10 spots in the annual list of the world's major companies in the sector.

The list was compiled by the United Kingdom-based advisory firm KPMG and Australian investment company H2 Ventures.

China's Ant Financial, which owns and operates the country's largest online payment platform, Alipay, topped the 100 Leading Fintech Innovators 2016 list, which was released on Oct 24.

Alipay was joined by four other Chinese companies. Student microloan site Qudian, formerly known as Qufenqi, was second; internet-based lending and wealth management platform Lufax ranked fourth; online insurance business ZhongAn was fifth; and internet financial services provider JDFinancewas 10th.

Established financial technology companies are ranked based on four factors: total capital raised, rate of capital raising, location and degree of subindustry disruption.

In the first quarter of the year, financial technology companies in China attracted $2.4 billion from venture capital companies in nine deals, or 49 percent of the $4.98 billion in investment recorded globally within the sector.

Oliver Thew, assistant programs manager at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutes Forum, a London think tank, says that "there is a rise in demand for financial inclusion as China's middle class continues to expand."

It's evident in the significant increase in peer-to-peer companies that have filled gaps in the market left by state-owned banks that prefer lending to larger companies, or state-owned ones.

In April, Ant Financial raised a record $4.5 billion and announced two new partnerships in the United States.

Funding has continued to rise for the sector worldwide, with companies on the list attracting an additional $14.6 billion in capital since last year's report, an increase of more than 40 percent.

Last year, two Chinese companies made the Top 10. ZhongAn claimed No 1, while Qufenqi, an electronics retailer that lets buyers pay in monthly installments, was fourth. This year, eight Chinese companies were in the top 100, compared with seven last year.

The US was the most represented region, with 24 companies on the list, three of those in the top 10.

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