Growth in China's financial technology has only just begun, CEO says

Key Points
  • Multiple Chinese financial technology firms, including Qudian, PPDai, Hexindai and Jianpu, went public in the U.S. last year
  • Despite the competition in the space, Jianpu CEO David Ye said growth in the market had only just begun
  • Regulatory scrutiny in the fintech space is beneficial in the long run, he added
This firm's fintech play is connecting financial services in China

China's burgeoning financial technology industry went through plenty of ups and downs last year, but growing pains experienced in the sector aren't fazing one local player.

Growth in the fintech space — which encompasses everything from peer-to-peer lending to insurance technology (insurtech) — has been rapid. And that's been on top of a sector that was already estimated to be worth more than 12 trillion yuan ($1.8 trillion) at the end of 2015, according to McKinsey.

Last year saw multiple Chinese fintech firms, including Qudian, PPDai, Hexindai and Jianpu, launch initial public offerings in the U.S.

But increased competition in the space doesn't suggest the sector is overcrowded, according to David Ye, the co-founder and CEO of Jianpu Technology.

"Keep in mind: The market is huge ... The growth has just started," Ye told CNBC on the sidelines of the Morgan Stanley China Technology, Media & Telecoms Conference in Beijing.

"In China, we have close to 9,000 microfinance companies, we have close to 2,000 peer-to-peer companies. Only four of them got listed ... It's just a tiny drop of water in the big blue ocean," he said.

Jianpu, a platform for financial product recommendations, was listed in November last year on the New York Stock Exchange. It connects some 95 million monthly active users with 2,500 financial service providers, according to Ye.

Ye also said the mainland's regulatory crackdown against peer-to-peer lenders and microlenders was ultimately beneficial to ensuring a healthy and sustainable market.

"We want to give credit to Chinese regulators because, compared to other Western countries like the U.S., the overall regulatory framework is more supportive [in China]," Ye said.

He added that Jianpu's position as an independent platform meant that it didn't have credit or liquidity risks that were associated with other fintech companies.