Baidu is selling its financial services arm to a group of investors led by TPG for $1.9b, in a deal that values the unit at $4b. The business offers financing to individuals and small businesses that cannot gain access to banks in China.
“Since inception, Baidu FSG has been building up its financing business and expanding financial inclusion across China,” TPG’s announcement said. “As savings and lending activities move online, technology companies are able to use their big data analytics to offer flexible micro-financing to the younger generation of consumers,” said Chang Sun, TPG’s managing partner for China. Baidu is helped by the fact its business model looks on the banks as allies rather than competitors, even working with them on lending decisions through its artificial intelligence tools.