Chinese Online Lender Weidai Plans $400 Million IPO

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Chinese peer-to-peer lender Weidai Hangzhou Financial Information Service Co. is planning an initial public offering that could raise about $400 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Weidai, which means “microlending” in Chinese, aims to sell shares in the U.S. as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Customers can use Weidai’s platform to borrow money with their automobiles as collateral. The site also provides unsecured cash lending and financing for car purchases.

The Hangzhou-based company is planning a share sale as Chinese financial technology IPOs start showing signs of revival. At least three Chinese fintech companies filed in March to list in Hong Kong, after a quiet quarter without any major deals from the sector.

There hasn’t been a major listing of a Chinese financial technology company in the U.S. or Hong Kong since LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., which raised $124 million in a downsized U.S. IPO in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qudian Inc., which completed a $1 billion IPO in October, has since fallen 52 percent from its offer price.

Weidai raised 1 billion yuan ($159 million) in a Series C funding round in 2016 led by Vision Knight Capital, its website shows. Its backers have also included Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao’s Shanda Group and Shenzhen-listed software developer Hakim Unique Internet Co., according to its website.

Any deal will add to the $7.3 billion of U.S. IPOs completed by Chinese companies over the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Calls to Weidai’s headquarters weren’t answered, and its press office didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries.

Weidai, which was launched in 2011, has processed more than 160 billion yuan of transactions since its operations started, according to its website. Xiamen Bank Co. provides depositary services to the platform. Weidai also operates 495 physical branches across China as of the end of November, the website shows.

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