People shown carrying briefcases. (Photographer: Lucas Schifres/Bloomberg News)

JD Finance to Raise $1.9 Billion From Chinese Financial Giants

(Bloomberg) -- JD Finance is close to snagging 13 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) of investment from several Chinese financial services giants, gaining a clutch of influential backers in its fight against Jack Ma’s Ant Financial.

The spinoff from online retailer JD.com Inc. has signed agreements with CICC Capital, an investment arm of Bank of China and buyout firm CITIC Capital for a fundraising that values the nascent company at roughly 133 billion yuan, JD Finance said in a statement. It hopes to complete the round of financing this quarter.

JD’s vying with the likes of Baidu Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to combine high-tech expertise with traditional finance and cater to a rising cohort of customers who prefer to do business on their phones. Securing the backing of Bank of China, one of the nation’s largest lenders, and influential players such as CITIC will help it compete with its larger rivals in the fledgling field of internet finance.

JD Finance already works with 700 financial institutions, has served 8 million small businesses and 400 million individuals, it said. But it remains a relative minnow compared with Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba that raised $14 billion in June and has enjoyed wider adoption thanks to its Alipay digital wallet and Alibaba’s heft in internet commerce. Like Ant, JD Finance offers loans and other services online, and much of its business involves short-term lending to consumers on JD.com, from which it spun off in 2017.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: David Ramli in Beijing at dramli1@bloomberg.net

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With assistance from Editorial Board