Chinese fintech firm Qudian impresses in U.S. market debut

(Reuters) - Shares of Qudian Inc rose as much as 48 percent in their market debut on Wednesday, valuing the online micro-credit firm at about $11.67 billion in the biggest U.S. listing by a Chinese company this year.

Qudian's initial public offering was priced at $24 per American depository share (ADS) - topping its expected $19 to $22 per ADS range - and raised $900 million.
U.S. exchanges are set to record their busiest year for IPOs from Asian companies since 2010, as startups from Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam join a flurry of Chinese firms that have already listed in the country.
Qudian, backed by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial, runs a mobile platform that allows college students and young workers to borrow amounts as low as $60 to buy apparel, concert tickets or smartphones.
The company targets hundreds of millions of young Chinese who need access to small credit, but cannot go to traditional financial institutions, mainly for lack of traditional credit data.
Founded in 2014 by Min Luo, Qudian became profitable last year. It provided $5.6 billion of credit in the first half of 2017 to 7 million active borrowers, according to its IPO paperwork with U.S. regulators. (http://bit.ly/2yO324r)
Qudian's profit jumped almost eight times to $144 million in the six months ended June 30, while its revenue rose near five-fold to $270 million.
Qudian sold 35.63 million new shares, while shareholders including Kunlun Group <300418.SZ> and board directors Li Du and Yi Cao sold 1.88 million existing shares.
The company plans to use the IPO proceeds on advertising to sign up more borrowers, as well as on potential acquisitions and general corporate purposes.
Citigroup, China International Capital Corp, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and UBS worked as joint bookrunners on the IPO.

(Reporting by Roopal Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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