Q: For those who have never heard of the company, how would you describe Peak Fintech Group?
Johnson Joseph: Peak Fintech Group’s mission is to make Chinese commercial lending landscape more efficient and transparent for all the participants. As an innovative Fintech service provider Peak uses technology, analytics and artificial intelligence to create an ecosystem of lenders, borrowers and other participants in China’s vast lending space.
Our proprietary Cubeler Lending Hub automates the process by which Chinese lenders find and qualify borrowers across several market verticals. These services allow banks and alternative lenders to safely increase loan volumes while reducing the time it takes to complete necessary due diligence.
Q: Most recently, Peak Fintech Group signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire banking artificial intelligence software company Zhongke Software Intelligence Ltd. How does this announcement further Peak’s growth in the Chinese lending space?
Johnson Joseph: The proposed acquisition is very strategic for us on several levels. Through our research, it is clear that the majority of small, medium and micro businesses in China are served not by large banks but rather by smaller local banks. Small lending institutions will be best suited for Zhongke’s product offering.
While our Cubeler Lending Hub platform makes it easier for banks to lend to small businesses, we found that internally, some banks were unable to take full advantage of the platform’s capabilities, for example, manual procedures like sharing loan repayment data with Lending Hub.
With the acquisition and the eventual integration of Zhongke’s software to Lending Hub, Peak will be in a position to offer China’s thousands of small banks, whether located in large cities, small towns or rural regions, an end-to-end solution to automate their commercial lending activities, including bringing them new clients.
Q: How long do you expect the integration process of Zhongke and Peak’s Lending Hub to take?
Johnson Joseph: Peak Fintech Group and Zhongke have agreed to a strategic partnership to pilot a new financing program targeting the restaurant industry and Zhongke’s existing banking clients using new software developed by Zhongke. The pilot will run for three months during which Peak will conduct its due diligence on Zhongke, after which the parties will finalize the terms of the proposed acquisition. It truly is an exciting opportunity for us, as we look forward to helping small businesses across China reach their fullest potential.
Q: Peak Fintech Group is now supporting Digital Currency Electronic Payments and is among the first platforms to utilize DC/EP. How is DC/EP different from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin?
Johnson Joseph: The most significant differentiation is that China’s DC/EP is legal tender, it’s backed by yuan deposits, it’s centralized and not anonymous. It is managed by China’s Central Bank, which requires the country’s banks to convert a part of their yuan holdings into DC/EP form and distribute them to businesses and citizens via mobile technology.
Q: How will the adoption of DC/EP, given China’s unbanked population, impact the mainstream economy?
Johnson Joseph: Ultimately, it will accelerate the country’s move to a cashless society. Peak Fintech Group began preparing its platforms for the DC/EP this fall. We hired former People’s Bank of China senior manager, Mr. Wenjun Wu, as a special advisor to assist us. Through Mr. Wu’s expertise, Peak’s platforms are ready to provide clients with the ability to conduct DC/EP transactions. We are very proud of that!
DC/EP, in addition to its built-in security features, offer several benefits to businesses and financial institutions. Loans and credit transactions conducted in DC/EP will typically carry lower interest rates than similar transactions conducted in regular yuan. Also, transactions will be settled instantly, and this will be the preferred way of conducting business in China. Peak plans to run a pilot project with a few supply-chain financing related transactions before making the feature available to all Gold River and Lending Hub clients.
There is a Fintech revolution happening in China and we intend to make North American investors an important part of it.