The world’s most valuable peer-to-peer lender is shifting away from the business. China’s Lufax, short for Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., is valued at $18.5 billion, far more than peers like San Francisco-based LendingClub. At the end of October, it had an estimated 13% share – the largest – of China’s $109 billion market for matching small borrowers with lenders. But the company is pivoting away, shifting into China’s booming retail-investing market with online accounts that let clients trade stocks, mutual funds and fixed-income products. Lufax says it is going where the growth is, and hasn’t been influenced by concerns about “P2P” lending, which suffers from soaring defaults. The shift comes ahead of a planned Hong Kong initial public offering by Lufax in the second half of 2017 that could raise $5 billion at a valuation of $25 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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