Chinese startup Aixuedai has just completed a US$40 million series A round of financing, according to QQ Tech. The company was founded in December 2012 and officially launched in August last year.
Aixuedai allows college students to purchase items like phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras using monthly installment plans. Customers need only need two photo IDs, one of them a student ID, to apply for a loan. They just find the item they want on an ecommerce site, such as JD or Tmall, and paste the URL into the application. They can then choose the number of months over which they want to pay the money back – up to two years – and their optional desired down payment.
Aixuedai strongly resembles another player in the market, Qufenqi. With a nearly identical business model, Qufenqi targets a broader audience than just students and has fixed listings. It raised a US$100 million series C round in December, just eight months after it launched. One day later, another like-minded competitor, Fenqile, scored a US$100 million series B round.
QQ Tech reports Aixuedai, Fenqile, and Qufenqi are recording RMB 200 million (US$32 million), RMB 100 million (US$16 million) and RMB 300 million (US$48 million) in monthly sales volume, respectively.
Lending startups, whether they be P2P lending platforms or some other form of microfinance, are on fire in China’s venture capital scene right now. The number of lending startups receiving huge early stage rounds is clearly unsustainable, and they are at the forefront of what many have deemed a bubble.