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Chinese technology company Kunlun invests in UK peer-to-peer platform

Beijing Kunlun, a Chinese technology company, has agreed to invest £22 million in UK peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform LendInvest, in what the UK start up says in the UK's largest-ever first round investment in a financial technology company. 16 Jun 2015

LendInvest launched in May 2013 and is now the world's largest P2P market place for mortgages, having financed over £300 million in mortgages since it launched, it said in an statement.

Beijing Kunlun has interests in gaming, social media and technology investments, and was originally backed by Silicon Valley venture capital company Sequoia Capital, LendInvest said.

Beijing Kunlun’s CEO, Yahui Zhou, will join LendInvest’s board of directors.

LendInvest chief executive Christian Faes said that the company had been talking to lots of venture capital firms, looking for "the right partner for LendInvest".

"Mr Zhou has genuine first-hand experience of building an extremely successful technology business, and taking his company public. As such we believe that we’ve found a partner that will be able to add significant value to LendInvest’s business," Faes said.

"We’re extremely excited by this deal, as it gives us the resources to consolidate and accelerate LendInvest’s growth," he said.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has also been investing in peer-to-peer lending. In February Alibaba reached an agreement with US based Lending Club to offer business financing for Alibaba's US customers. Lending Club is an eight-year-old Californian peer-to-peer online lending company that links would-be lenders with borrowers. It does not lend money itself.

The following month Alibaba announced partnerships with "lending pioneers" iwoca and ezbob, both UK start ups, to provide finance for smaller companies to use to buy from China.

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