Circle comes to China on back of $60 million funding round

Circle comes to China on back of $60 million funding round

Social payments app Circle has scored $60 million in financing from a syndicate of major Chinese investors and formed a new Beijing-based company, Circle China.

Along with IDG, Breyer Capital and General Catalyst Partners, the latest funding round saw participation from a powerful syndicate of Chinese investors, including Baidu, CICC ALPHA, China Everbright Limited, Wanxiang and CreditEase.

The firm - which enables money transfers across popular messaging platforms and other media - says Circle China was quietly set up six months ago with a multimillion dollar seed investment from many of the strategic investors in this round.

In a blog post, the firm states: "We have taken great inspiration from China in our thinking about the future of banking and consumer finance. Social payments as a category started in China, and has enormous scale, unlike in the West. The first private banks in China are run by Alibaba and Tencent. Messaging and payments, p2p lending and novel forms of saving and investment, powered by the internet and software, are accelerating at an incredible pace in China, outpacing the West."

Circle launched its mainstream product supporting US Dollar payments in Q4 2015 on the back of a $50million round of funding from investors including Goldman Sachs, IDG Capital, General Catalyst and Accel Partners among others. In April the company launched in the UK with the support of Barclays Bank and an e-money issuer license from the Financial Conduct Authority.

The firm says it will soon open Circle Euro support to consumers in Spain as the first part of a broader European wide rollout to come over the coming month.

"Between the US, Europe and China, there are 2+ billion consumers who will share value, and we want to enable that experience in the same way that these consumers share messages and content today," continues the blog post. "We're on track to exceed a billion dollars in transaction volume on an annual basis, and Circle's global customer base has grown by 300% over the past 12 months -- but we're just getting started."

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