Zopa to launch in Japan

P2P lending service Zopa – already present in the US, the UK and Italy announced it will launch in Japan.

Zopa Japan will be led by Chairman Takashi Yoneda and Managing Director Tatsuya Kuboi, both highly experienced and distinguished technology-based financial services professionals. Zopa Japan further strengthens Zopa´s position as the leader in its field. Zopa will continue its track record of firsts, as it will be the first social finance offering in Japan.

Takashi Yoneda, Zopa Japan´s Chairman, says: "We are very pleased to be part of the expanding Zopa worldwide operations, and we look forward to offering innovative financial solutions for the Japanese market. We will draw from the Zopa´s experience across the globe and introduce a social lending platform that is tailored for the Japanese culture and regulatory environment

Zopa tomorrow celebrates it's third birthday – it launched in March 2005 in the UK market. 

Other sources: Techcrunch UK

P2P lending Asia

Some news from p2p lending in Asian markets:

Chinese PPdai.com (see earlier coverage) says it has received a first round of funding from Essentia Private equity. The amount was not disclosed.

On February 27th, Zopa's managing director Giles Andrews mentioned in a webchat "I have also been spending time in Asia and hope that we will launch in 2 very significant markets there in 2008, one of which we may even announce shortly….".
In the webchat Giles Andrews also said regarding the US market: "@Tealer We also think that our "competitors" over there are illegal, and I don't want to go to jail!".
Furthermore Zopa said it plans to launch an (optional) capital guarantee product in the UK market.

See earlier coverage of P2P-Banking.com on the p2p lending markets in Corea, China, India or Japan.

Prosper to enter Japan and Asia

Prosper.com announced in a press release, that Prosper will expand into Japan and other Asian markets (countries were not disclosed). Excerpt from Prosper press release:

Prosper and SBI Holdings to Establish Prosper in Japan and Other Asian Countries

San Francisco – August 6, 2007 – Prosper (www.prosper.com), America’s first people-to-people lending marketplace, and SBI Holdings, Inc., a holding company for SBI Group, the financial innovation leader of Japan, today announced an agreement to form a joint venture to facilitate the launch of Prosper in Japan and explore other Asian markets.

“As Prosper takes the first step toward expanding to Japan, we’re confident SBI is the optimal partner to navigate the regulatory landscape and successfully launch and operate the Prosper marketplace in the region,” said Chris Larsen, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prosper.

“With over $78 million in funded loans and more than 360,000 members, Prosper is the leading person-to-person lending marketplace,” said Hayato Kameta, incoming Chief Executive Officer of the joint venture. “SBI Group’s experience and resources in both the Internet and financial sectors, combined with the vision and infrastructure of Prosper, makes this joint venture well positioned to develop and execute a business plan which meets the regulatory and business environment in Japan and other Asian countries.”

SBI Group has a market capitalization in excess of $8 billion and consists of 65 consolidated subsidiaries and 12 affiliated companies, including 9 public companies. SBI online finance business include SBI E*Trade Securities Co., Ltd., Morningstar Japan K.K. and E-LOAN as a business unit of SBI Holdings. To find out more about SBI Holdings, Inc., visit www.sbigroup.co.jp/english/.