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China may be leading in payments, but it is set for further growth in fintech, says an entrepreneur

  • The growth in China's fintech industry may look like it's peaking given the wide usage of internet payments, but the sector has yet to reach its full potential, David Ye, co-founder and chairman of Rong360, told CNBC's Akiko Fujita.
  • The fintech sector's current growth is now largely driven by payments, but this is set to extend to other areas such as credit infrastructure or access to insurance, he said.
  • Ye said the industry could see double-digit percentage gains in the next five to 10 years.

The growth in China's financial technology industry may look like it's peaking given the wide usage of internet payments, but the sector has yet to reach its full potential, one fintech firm told CNBC on Monday.

The world's second-largest economy already has one of the highest fintech adoption rates, according to a 2017 report by consultancy EY. The report found that 69 percent of digitally active consumers in China use fintech services, compared to 33 percent in the U.S.

But a large portion of the current growth is driven by payments, David Ye, co-founder and chairman of Rong360, told CNBC's Akiko Fujita at the Boao Forum in Hainan, China.

"China has been leading in some fintech space such as payments. China is way ahead of other leading countries in payments with 60 or 70 percent of penetration," Ye said.

Mobile payments are widely accepted in China, including at supermarkets.
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Mobile payments are widely accepted in China, including at supermarkets.

"However, in other parts of the fintech space, for example access to credit online, credit cards, credit infrastructure or access to insurance, are still under penetrated and have lots of room to grow. That's why we expect the whole sector to grow double digit, in some sectors maybe high double digit in the next five, ten years to come," he said.

The market size of China's fintech industry already exceeded 12 trillion yuan ($1.9 trillion) at the end of 2015, with payments contributing close to 90 percent of that value, according to a report by McKinsey and Company.

The growth potential has fueled the expansion of a number of Chinese fintech companies. Multiple fintech firms, including Rong360's subsidiary Jianpu Technology, launched initial public offerings in the U.S. over the past year.

"We see more consumers and SMEs need access to credit, they want to buy insurance, they want to better manage their wealth, they want to get their first cars — that's the biggest driver," Ye added.