(Reuters) Chinese online lender Lexinfintech’s shares surged in their US market debut on Thursday, in a sign that investors were looking past Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.
Shares of Lexinfintech Holdings rose as much as 53% on the Nasdaq, valuing the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51bn.
Its initial public offering was priced at $9 per American depository share, at the bottom of a $9 to $11 range, and raised $108m.
The company last week slashed the size of the IPO by two-thirds to a maximum of $151.8m following the clampdown on micro-lenders by China’s financial regulators.
Attempt to curb micro-lender growth
China is trying to curb the fast yet haphazard growth at the country’s online micro-lenders, unveiling tougher new rules in recent weeks including a ban on loans to borrowers who have no source of income.
The industry is booming amid rising Chinese incomes and a low credit card penetration rate.
Micro-lenders including Qudian, PPDAI Group and Jianpu Technology, all of which recently listed themselves on US exchanges, saw their shares dip after the heightened regulation.
Lexinfintech provides loans to educated young adults aged 18 to 36, including loans for online shopping.
Existing Lexinfintech shareholders including K2 Partners and Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com have expressed interest to buy $28m of its shares at the IPO price, according to a filing with US regulators.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China Renaissance, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs were joint bookrunners on the IPO.