JD Finance to raise RM7.7b from Chinese giants


BEIJING • JD Finance is close to snagging 13 billion yuan (RM7.67 billion) of investment from several Chinese financial services giants, gaining a clutch of influential backers in its fight against Jack Ma’s Ant Financial.

The spinoff from online retailer JD.com Inc has signed agreements with CICC Capital, an investment arm of Bank of China and buyout firm CITIC Capital, for a fundraising that values the nascent company at roughly 133 billion yuan, JD Finance said in a statement. It hopes to complete the round of financing in this quarter.

JD is vying with the likes of Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to combine high-tech expertise with traditional finance and cater to a rising cohort of customers who prefer to do business on their phones. Securing the backing of Bank of China, one of the nation’s largest lenders, and influential players such as CITIC will help it compete with its larger rivals in the fledgling field of Internet finance.

JD Finance already works with 700 financial institutions, has served eight million small businesses and 400 million individuals, it said.

But it remains a relative minnow compared to Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that raised US$14 billion (RM56.55 billion) in June and has enjoyed wider adoption thanks to its Alipay digital wallet and Alibaba’s heft in Internet commerce. Like Ant, JD Finance offers loans and other services online, and much of its business involves short-term lending to consumers on JD.com.