Dianrong's Ling Kong on how tech is transforming finance in China

Dianrong.com is at the forefront of a financial revolution in China, which is being driven by technology. Ling Kong is the Chief Technology Officer of the China based peer-to-peer lending company Dianrong.com, which is one of the most innovative technology-based alternative finance providers in China. Ling s background in Computer Science and his interest Human-Computer Interaction [...]

Dianrong.com is at the forefront of a financial revolution in China, which is being driven by technology. 


Ling Kong is the Chief Technology Officer of the China based peer-to-peer lending company Dianrong.com, which is one of the most innovative technology-based alternative finance providers in China. 

Lings background in Computer Science and his interest Human-Computer Interaction translated into leading the deployment of large-scale cloud platforms across a number of technology start-ups and major enterprise teams.


In this episode, Ling talks about:
  • How fintech in China is able to fill the infrastructure gap in financial services left by the traditional banking system.
  • The technology engine which is needed to to support the exponential growth in peer-to-peer transactions.
  • How big data is enabling a shift from traditional credit risk assessment to heuristics-based risk assessment.
  • Whether Dianrong.com be expanding across borders in the future?
We hope you enjoy this Q&A with Ling Kong.


Dianrong.com is a technology based peer-to-peer lending company that started operations in March 2013, and co-founded by Soul Htite. Soul had previously co-founded Lending Club in the U.S. and he has been a leader in using technology to automate much of the credit-lending cycle in a peer-to-peer lending model.

Selected links from the Episode

Connect with Ling Kong Dianrong Mafia technology blog

Wechat ID: DianrongMafia

Dianrong.com Wikipedia entry


Detailed show notes*
* With thanks to Xuan Shi.
  • Introductions to Ling Kong and Dianrong.com. (0.58)
  • How Ling Kong came to fintech in China. (1:44)
  • How Ling s interest in finance developed out of his experience at Microsoft Azure, where helped to build Microsoft Commerce, a SaaS platform built for secure online transactions. (2:05)
  • Ling s video game start-up, which was invested by Sequoia Capital. (2:48)
  • Why video games in China are not just about content, but building virtual economies. (3.03)
  • How structuring online systems translates to financial technology. (3:45)
  • How Ling met Soul Htite, who was founding a fintech start up in China, which ultimately became Diangrong.com. (4:18)
  • Why Ling and Soul thought the rise of online third party payments systems could lead to fintech becoming a rising star in China. (4:40)
  • Why fintech in China has had greater potential than in established economies. (5.00)
  • How Dianrong was able to start and flourish in China. (5.20)
  • The differences between starting a fintech company in US versus China. (5:40)
  • How the first U.S.-based peer-to-peer lending companies, Lending Club and Prosper.com were initially shut down by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. (5:52)
  • How the SEC s eventual approval for fintech in the U.S turned out to be relatively good for alternative lending. (6:53)
  • How government restrictions on investing and borrowing heavily limited fintech development in South Korea. (7:14)
  • How China's still rapidly growing economy has been accompanied by innovation. (8:23)
  • How the Chinese government tends to let innovation go first, before later restricting using the rule of the negative list . (8:50)
  • How fintech innovation has flourished in China. (9.10)
  • How stricter regulations on fintech have been introduced in China over the past year and will be strictly implemented by August 2017. (9.30)
  • How it took four to five years of rapid fintech innovation in China from 2013 before tighter regulations were introduced. (9.45)
  • What is the difference is between peer-to-peer lending and traditional bank lending. (10:15)
  • How Chinese banks are traditionally operations heavy. (10:25)
  • Why shadow banking outside of the traditional banks has accounted for over 40 percent of lending in China. (10:50)
  • Why the traditional banks like to do big and easy business by lending to large companies and projects. (11:30)
  • How the traditional banking system has been unfavourable for consumers and small businesses. (12:00)
  • How starting with the needs of consumers and small businesses led to the rise of Alipay. (12:20)
  • How the gap left by the traditional bank system has created an opening for lighter, faster and more responsive financial services. (12:50)
  • How the United States financial infrastructure compares to China in terms of pre-existing banking services. (13:20)
  • How fintech in China is filling the infrastructure gap in financial services. (15:42)
  • How interconnected financial networks in China are missing from the legacy systems in the U.S. (15:55)
  • How the barriers to entry for new peer-to-peer lending businesses in China have risen. (16:45)
  • Why peer-to-peer lending is so successful in China. (17:06)
  • Why peer-to-peer lending models need large scale populations to work well. (17:18)
  • Why the need for scale is a weakness of peer-to-peer lending. (18:26)
  • Why it takes a certain volume of people and transactions for peer-to-peer lending to become effective. (18:45)
  • How technology differentiates Dianrong.com from many other peer-to-peer lending platforms in China. (21:55)
  • The difference between using technology to innovate versus using technology to facilitate traditional financial services. (22.25)
  • The ledger-based system underpinning Diangrong.com s infrastructural services. (24.45)
  • Why the difficult part of peer-to-peer wallet-based systems is being able to write many transactions from many people. (25:30)
  • The engine which is needed to to support the exponential growth in peer-to-peer transactions. (26:22)
  • How Dianrong.com fractionalises loan investments and allows even small investors to diversify across many loans. (27:00)
  • How fintech expands access to private banking services to much wider layers of people. (29.00)
  • What plans does Dianrong.com have to apply blockchain technology? (29:30)
  • Why Dianrong.com has been putting significant resources into developing blockchain technology. (30:00)
  • How technology is commoditising access to more sophisticated types of financial services. (31:25)
  • How Dianrong.com deals with borrowing. (32.10)
  • How big data is enabling a shift from traditional credit risk assessment to heuristics-based risk assessment. (34.00)
  • The limits of traditional credit risk assessment. (36:05)
  • How the collection of wider types of borrower data enables the use of multiple big data models. (37.45)
  • How Dianrong.com accesses borrower data. (39:00)
  • The role of partnerships data sources, like Alipay. (40.15)
  • China's pilot personal credit data companies.  (41.00)
  • How Dianrong.com uses other API-based data sources. (44.00)
  • How many people is Dianrong.com serving? (45:08)
  • What joint partnerships Dianrong.com has with other institutions? (47:23)
  • How will P2P landing and traditional landing co-exist in the future? (49:14)
  • Will Dianrong.com move across borders? (55:20)
  • How to connect with Ling. (57:31)

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