Baidu Teams up with China Citic to Launch Fintech Direct Bank


Chinese Internet giant Baidu has teamed up with mid-tier lender China Citic Bank to launch a fintech joint-venture that will use AI and big data to control online financing risks.

The fintech joint-venture dubbed AiBank is a direct bank that will focus on providing loans to individuals and small businesses via an online application process, removing the need for borrowers to proceed to bricks and mortar branches.

AiBank president Li Rudong said at the company’s launch event over the weekend that 60% of staff will be technology experts, who will work on the development of innovative risk control models using artificial intelligence and big data.

Regulators gave their approval to AiBank’s establishment earlier this year. The joint-venture has registered capital of 2 billion yuan, with Citic Bank a 70% equity stake and Baidu the remaining 30%.

AiBank is just the latest in a slew of fintech vehicles to be launched by China’s online giants in collaboration with domestic banks, with Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings already establishing their own internet platforms that provide payment, wealth management and lending services.