Qudian could be biggest Chinese IPO in US this year

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A Chinese online micro-lender is set for the biggest Chinese debut on a US stock exchange this year.

Qudian priced its US initial public offering at $24 per share, raising about $900m (£682m).

The company focuses on small, short-term consumer loans for predominantly young customers.

In its listing documents, the company said it currently had 47.9 million registered users and 5.6 million active borrowers.

Qudian is a digital-only platform, which issues most of its loans through its mobile platform.

The loans average between $136 and $184, with approval usually granted within seconds.

Qudian made a profit of $143.6m for the first half of 2017.

Backed by giant

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which runs China's biggest mobile payment platform Alipay, is a principal shareholder in the company.

Qudian's services are closely linked to Ant Financial, as the loans are paid into Alipay accounts and also repaid using Alipay.

Qudian claims to be an innovator in applying artificial intelligence to financial applications.

The company uses machine learning and data collected from its customers to assess their credit-worthiness.

Technology-based financial services are popular in China, where many consumers do not have credit cards and instead use mobile payments.

According to the consultancy Oliver Wyman, the value of online and mobile third-party payments in China grew from $1.12 trillion in 2013 to $8.24tn in 2016.

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