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Chinese online lender Weidai planning US$400m IPO

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

Weidai, which means "microlending" in Chinese, aims to sell shares in the US as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The platform provides cash lending and car financing products.

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

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Weidai raised 1 billion yuan (S$209.07 million) in a Series C funding round in 2016 led by Vision Knight Capital, its website shows. It also counts Chinese billionaire Chen Tianqiao's Shanda Group and Shenzhen-listed software developer Hakim Unique Internet Co among its backers.

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.