China’s loss India’s gain? India overtakes neighbour in fintech deals amid latter’s slowing economy

FE Online
fintech, fintech start up

A decline in Q4 2019 fintech deals in China, which has been embroiled in the trade war with the US and facing a slowing economy, has put India ahead of it. While China's number of fintech deals dropped to 30 in the last quarter of 2019 from 56 deals in the preceding quarter, India recorded 31 deals in the fintech space in the said quarter, according to CB Insights Q4 2019 fintech report. The country's deal volume activity had largely remained flat in 2019 with 33 deals each in the first and third quarter of 2019 except the second quarter when the number dipped to 23. This is in contrast to China's where the figure went down from 39 in Q1 to 21 in the following quarter.

"Despite China's dominance in annual deal activity, on a quarterly basis, its deals dipped below India's for the second time in 2019," the report said. The funding in two Asian giants also dropped significantly from Q3 2019 even as India toppled China with $1.8 billion deal value in Q4 2019 against relatively paltry funding of only $298 million. However, the enormity of this gap is because of Paytm's $1.6-billion fundraising in two deals in 2019. Excluding Paytm's funding, India's fintech funding for the quarter was $212 million. A similar spike in China was seen in Q4 2018 when its investment and financing platform raised $1.3 billion.

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Moreover, in a year-on-year comparison (except Q4 2019) between the two countries, China remained ahead of India though the gap in fintech funding in the four quarters has been marginal. China's fintech ecosystem, which has five unicorns, is led by valued at $39.4 billion while India has four fintech unicorns led by Paytm valued at $16 billion. Other are Pine Labs, Policy Bazaar, and Bill Desk, said CB Insights.