China’s booming fintech industry is on the verge of adding two new billionaires to the world’s most powerful wealth engine.
Online consumer finance platform PPDAI Group Inc (拍拍貸) is planning an initial public offering in the US this month, giving cofounder Gu Shaofeng (顧少豐), who owns more than 25 percent of the business, a net worth of at least US$1.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Tang Ning (唐寧) owns 36 percent of US-listed peer-to-peer lending platform Yirendai Ltd (宜人貸), giving the founder and chief executive officer a net worth of about US$930 million.
“In China, one billionaire is created every three weeks,” Zhang Qiong (張瓊), head of wealth management for UBS Securities in China, said in an interview.
Three Chinese fintechs have gone public this year, raising US$2.45 billion, while two other companies — PPDAI and online lender Jianpu Technology Inc (簡普科技) — have filed prospectuses.
Eight new billionaires have emerged in China this year, while the fortunes of its wealthiest have risen faster than anywhere else, according to the Bloomberg index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
China has 38 billionaires on the index and their fortunes have climbed 67 percent this year to a combined US$461 billion.
Gu, 38, is one of four cofounders, the company said in a regulatory filing last month.
Tang has served as executive chairman of the board since the company’s inception, according to a regulatory filing in April, which listed his age as 43 at the time.
A representative of PPDAI declined to comment, while Yirendai did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
PROPERTY AND TECH
Most of the biggest gains are in property and in technology, where Chinese companies collected the majority of fintech venture capital funding globally for the first time last year, according to a KPMG report.
The world’s most valuable closely held fintech company is Hangzhou-based Ant Financial (螞蟻金服), the banking affiliate of Jack Ma’s (馬雲) Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), which has been valued as high as US$75 billion.
The wealth surge has helped give Asia more billionaires than the US for the first time, according to a UBS Group AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers report.
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