Online insurer ZhongAn leads Chinese rise in financial tech: study

Online insurer ZhongAn leads Chinese rise in financial tech: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Chinese online property insurer ZhongAn has topped a list of financial technology (fintech) innovation companies, leading a strong showing by Chinese firms this year amid increased funding & interest in the sector there.

The Fintech 100 list, published on Monday under a collaboration between investment firm H2 Ventures & KPMG, was still dominated by U.S. companies, with 40 percent of the firms based in the Americas.

But there were seven Chinese firms in the list of 100, compared to just one a year earlier.

Fintech companies are shaking up banking & other industries by allowing savers & borrowers to bypass traditional lenders with smartphone apps & websites for loans, payments & all areas of financial services.

ZhongAn was founded in 2013 in Shanghai & is a joint 11venture between major firms Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings & Ping An Insurance. Beijing-based electronics retailer Qufengi, which allows flexible payment options, ranked fourth.

Healthcare insurance specialist Oscar & automated investment service firm Wealthfront, both from the United States, ranked second & third on the list.

In addition to the strong showing by companies from the United States & China, there were 18 British firms & 10 from Australia & New Zealand.

The report said fintech financing is expected to reach $20 billion this year, up 66 percent from $12 billion in 2014 & representing a six-fold jump over the past three years.

The Fintech 100 was based on issues including capital raised, geographic & sector diversity & market place impact & included 50 established fintech companies & 50 picked as "emerging stars" for their potentially disruptive plans.

The 100 companies have collectively raised more than $10 billion.

The payments sector is one of the busiest, with firms from payments, currencies & transactions accounting for a quarter of the Fintech 100 firms. They include Swedish e-commerce company Klarna, San Francisco-based Square & Dutch firm Adyen.

Twenty-two names on the list were lending companies, 14 were wealth management firms & seven were involved in insurance.

(Reporting by Steve Slater)

Source: “Reuters”