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China Rapid Finance Plans US Listing – Wall Street Journal

China Rapid Finance will likely list on the New York Stock Exchange.
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China Rapid Finance will likely list on the New York Stock Exchange.


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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chinese peer-to-peer lender China Rapid Finance is planning to raise up to $200 million in a U.S. initial public offering as early as the first half of 2016, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Morgan Stanley
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along with Citigroup
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and Jefferies are working on the deal, the people said. It will likely list on the New York Stock Exchange, according to one of them.

China Rapid Finance has been exploring the possibility of an IPO since 2014. However, it opted to stay private for a little while longer, raising $35 million in a private capital funding round in July with Broadline Capital, a private-equity firm with offices in the U.S., China, and Hong Kong. UBS Group AG acted as the placement agent on that funding.

The online lender said it is always looking at a variety of options to help it continue its growth and development, but it has released no information on fundraising since July.

Another Chinese peer-to-peer lender, Yirendai Ltd., initially filed for a U.S. listing in February, but hasn’t yet set a price for the offering, an unusually long lead time. That IPO, which could also come early next year, is being led by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG
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, and China Renaissance Securities.

Based in Shanghai but incorporated in the U.S., China Rapid Finance started as a consumer-credit company in 2001, providing services to China’s largest banks. It started the online lending business in 2011 and has offered more than 50 million consumers preapproved loans via mobile phones, according to its website.

With the rapid growth of China’s peer-to-peer marketplace, online lenders are in dire need for fresh capital. Lufax, an online lender backed by Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance
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(Group) Co, is planning a $5 billion IPO in Hong Kong next year, after raising $488 million in March from a clutch of investors, to reach its current valuation of nearly $10 billion.

Dianrong.com will seek to raise as much as $500 million in its next funding round, likely in March, in what could be the largest investment in the sector, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Soul Htite, said in a recent interview.

Monthly online lending volume reached 120 billion yuan ($19 billion) in October, four times its level for the same period a year earlier, according to a report jointly published by online lender Wangdaizhijia and consulting firm Yingcan.

Write to Telis Demos at telis.demos@wsj.com

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