Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pte Ltd has reportedly invested a whopping $220 million along with other investors in Dianrong – a peer-to-peer lending platform from China. The firm is to use GIC’s funds to automate some of it’s branches for research, development and acquisitions, according to Reuters.
Peer-to-peer or P2P investing is a platform where borrowers are matched with investors online. The $120 billion P2P industry is fraught with risk and controversy and is well-known for being one “full of bad loans and no profits.”
China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits.
In recent years, China has begun cracking down on such P2P firms through introducing new regulations that aim to wind down the scandalous industry. The country is home to about 2,100 such firms. Besides Dianrong, its founder also own another such online lending company, which raked in US$207 million in 2015.
The risk in the P2P industry is extremely high. Since 2011, about 3,795 P2P platforms have been estimated to have collapsed. The police in China have arrested over 20 P2P investors for running Chinese police last year for running “a complete Ponzi scheme” under the guise of an investment strategy and milking investors to the tune of US$7.6 billion.
Chief investment industry players like Guo Guangchang, Fosun Group’s chairman, have disparaged the P2P market as “basically a scam.” Likewise, Ping An Insurance president openly stated that most P2P lenders were “fakes.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the chairman of GIC, which is formerly known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. The firm was set up 36 years ago, in 1991, to preserve and enhance the nation’s foreign reserves.