Internet giant Baidu buys US FinTech company ZestFinance

Chinese Internet giant Baidu has invested in LA-based fintech company ZestFinance which uses AI tech to derive credit scores from large amounts of data.

By applying ZestFinance technology to consumer search, location, and payment data provided by Baidu, the two companies hope to fill the gap in the China’s credit market where consumer credit history is hardly available.

Tony Yip, global head of investment and M&A at Baidu, said, ““ZestFinance’s unique ability to analyze and process complex, disparate data to make accurate credit decisions is very valuable to the Chinese credit market, where a centralized credit scoring system has yet to emerge.”

Douglas Merrill, founder and CEO of ZestFinance commented, “This investment from Baidu will help further our mission, particularly in the fast-growing Chinese credit market. We’re thrilled to work with Baidu to turn search data into credit data.”

Established in 2009 by Merrill and a group of Google employes, ZestFinance runs a credit-decisioning technology platform that enables lenders to predict credit risk so they can provide lower-cost credit to consumers.

The AI tech used by the company runs the collected data through dozens of mathematical models in parallel to make timely, accurate underwriting decisions, without human intervention.

Apart from its credit score offering ZestFinance also uses its technology to provide online loans to consumers.

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