Eight related peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms announced that their manager disappeared in January, leaving investors unable to withdraw at least 1 billion yuan ($145 million) in funds, domestic media outlets have reported.
The platforms (cmtouzi.com, naipinglicai.com, zaodianlicai.com, wanerjialicai.com, qianguan360.com, lexinglicai.com, xjinfu.com, huoniu360.com) simultaneously announced on January 18 that their manager Fang Fan's mismanagement of funds had left investors unable to withdraw their money, according to a report on chinatimes.cc.
In their marketing, the platforms targeted college students, pregnant women and mothers.
The platforms are all controlled by Beijing Qiyuan Fortune Network Technology Co, according to the report. As of January, cmtouzi.com users had invested 170 million yuan on the platform.
The figure was 350 million yuan for zaodianlicai.com and 428 million yuan for naipinglicai.com. In total, the three platforms controlled nearly 1 billion yuan in user funds.
Qiyuan Fortune Network Technology was established in May 2015. Between December 2015 and April 2016, it set up seven network technology companies. The eight companies controlled these P2P online lending platforms.
Cmtouzi.com is still operating. On Friday, the platform issued a statement that denied the incident was caused by inappropriate management. It also issued a plan that would allow investors to withdraw their money.
In 2016, the number of "problematic" online P2P lending platforms rose to 1,300, a record high, domestic financial news outlet finance.ifeng.com reported on February 6, citing an industry report. As of January, the number of investors involved with problematic P2P online lenders hit 478,000, accounting for 4.5 percent of all P2P investors in China.
China's online P2P lending platforms handled 221 billion yuan in transactions in January, down 9.55 percent month-on-month, according to the report.