Seven of the world's most successful 50 fintech companies are now from China, threatening to overshadow the UK as a leading hub for digital start-ups.
ZhongAn, an online insurance group backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma that raised $931m over the summer to fund its booming expansion, tops a list compiled by KPMG. KPMG's survey a year ago contained only one Chinese company. UK peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle was ranked fifth, the highest of six British firms.
George Osborne, the chancellor, has pledged to make London the fintech capital of the world. But Warren Mead, who leads KPMG's fintech practice, said: "The UK is clearly a leading centre for fintech but with the rise of Chinese firms that position is not guaranteed."
The accountancy group compiled two lists — one of 50 established firms, and another of 50 firms to watch.
In total the 100 firms have raised in excess of $10bn. Global funding for fintech companies is expected to hit $20bn this year — a 66 per cent jump compared with 2014, KPMG said.
Although the UK lagged behind China in established fintech providers, it boasted 12 companies in the "emerging" list — more than any other country.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the rapid growth in P2P lenders in China was not yet a threat to banks, as they target customers not served by the incumbents. The fledgling platforms are also small relative to the large credit market in China.