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China wealth manager CreditEase seeking fresh funding: sources

[HONG KONG] Chinese fintech giant CreditEase is raising new funds to bankroll its expansion in the country's increasingly competitive wealth management sector, according to people familiar with the matter.

While CreditEase hasn't decided on a target, it's seeking several billion yuan in equity financing, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. Deliberations are at a preliminary stage, the people added. A CreditEase representative declined to comment.

The Beijing-based company is boosting its data and cloud computing technology to fend off startups and foreign asset managers also seeking to win a slice of China's wealth management business. CreditEase offers investment services to high net worth individuals and so-called mass affluent investors, and is the majority owner of New York-listed peer-to-peer lending platform Yiren Digital Ltd.

Backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and IDG Capital, the company is seeking growth overseas, especially in South-east Asia, to counter a cooling economy at home. Its customers are also keen to diversify their holdings abroad.

CreditEase is targeting an initial public offering in 2020, chief executive officer Tang Ning has said. Founded in 2006, the company serves more than 50,000 high net worth clients and several hundred thousand mass-affluent clients - people who have investible assets between one million yuan (S$193,400) and 10 million yuan. It managed more than 150 billion yuan as of September 2018.

BLOOMBERG