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JT Jianpu Technology

Filed: 29 Oct 21, 4:06pm

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

OR

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2020.

 

 

OR

 

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                  to                  

OR

 

 

SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report

For the transition period from                       to                        

Commission file number: 001-38278

Jianpu Technology Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

Not Applicable

(Translation of Registrant’s Name Into English)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 

21/F Internet Finance Center

Danling Street, Beijing

People’s Republic of China

Telephone: +86-10-8302-3688

Email: ir@rong360.com

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

    

Trading Symbol

    

Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered

American depositary shares, each
representing 20 Class A ordinary shares
Class A ordinary shares, par value
US$0.0001 per share*

 

JT

New York Stock Exchange

*              Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on the New York Stock Exchange of American depositary shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

None

(Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:

As of December 31, 2020, there were 423,627,480 ordinary shares outstanding, par value US$0.0001 per share, being the sum of 327,155,685 Class A ordinary shares and 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes   No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

 

Emerging growth company 

If an emerging growth company that prepare its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

†The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. § 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

U.S. GAAP

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board

Other

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

Item 17   Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes   No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

Our annual consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020 have been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers Zhong Tian LLP in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). As previously disclosed in the Explanatory Note to our annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2019 filed on April 30, 2021, our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been restated. Our previously issued consolidated financial statements (and the related audit opinion) included in our annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2018 should not be relied upon. The restatement of our consolidated financial statements (the “Restatement”) as of and for the year ended December 31, 2018 has resulted in certain changes to our consolidated financial statements previously issued.

We have not amended, and we do not intend to amend, our previously filed annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2018 or our quarterly financial results for each quarter in 2018 attached as exhibits to our current reports on Form 6-K previously furnished to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The financial information included in reports previously filed or furnished by us in 2018 and 2019 is superseded by the applicable information in the annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2019 filed on April 30, 2021.

INTRODUCTION

Except where the context otherwise requires and for purposes of this annual report only:

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents 20 Class A ordinary shares. Except as otherwise indicated, all ADS and per ADS data in this annual report give retroactive effect to the change in the ratio of ADSs to Class A ordinary shares (the “ADS Ratio”) from two ADSs to five Class A ordinary shares to one ADS to 20 Class A ordinary shares, which became effective on October 30, 2020;
“China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purpose of this annual report only, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau;
“Class A ordinary shares” refers to our Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“Class B ordinary shares” refers to our Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“Restructuring” refers to a corporate restructuring we completed in 2018 in order to strengthen our positioning as an independent open platform (for more information, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company”). As part of the Restructuring, all business operations previously operated by RONG360 prior to the Restructuring except for the digital lending business was transferred from RONG360 to us;
“RONG360” means RONG360 Inc., a Cayman Islands exempted company, its subsidiaries and its consolidated variable interest entity, but, prior to the Restructuring, exclude Jianpu Technology Inc., its subsidiaries and its consolidated variable interest entities;
“shares” or “ordinary shares” refers to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share;
“VIE” refers to variable interest entity, and “our VIEs” or “the VIEs” refer to our variable interest entities Beijing Rongdiandian Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“RDD”), Beijing Kartner Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“KTN”), Beijing Guangkezhixun Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“GKZX”), Hangzhou Scorpion Technology Co., Ltd. (“HST”) and Beijing Tianyi Chuangshi Technology Co., Ltd. (“TCT”); and

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“we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” refer to Jianpu Technology Inc., a Cayman Islands exempted company and its subsidiaries and, in the context of describing our operations and consolidated financial information, also include our VIEs and their subsidiaries in China, provided that prior to the Restructuring, excludes the digital lending business that was previously operated by and was continued to be carried out by RONG360 after the Restructuring.

For financial service providers, we generally consider each separate legal entity as one provider. For example, nationwide banks operate with multiple legal entities at provincial and local levels, and each entity has autonomy over product features and credit policies. Accordingly, we treat each legal entity as one financial service provider.

We apply the following principles in counting the number of financial products offered through our platform:

loan products issued by the same financial service provider under the same credit policy within the same geographic area are generally considered one product;
credit card products issued by the same issuer under the same card policy are generally considered one product; and
insurance products issued by the same insurance company under the same insurance policy are generally considered one product.

Our reporting currency is the Renminbi because our business is mainly conducted in China and substantially all of our revenues are denominated in Renminbi. This annual report contains translations of Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at specific rates solely for the convenience of the reader. The conversion of Renminbi into U.S. dollars in this annual report is based on the exchange rate set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to Renminbi in this annual report were made at a rate of RMB6.5250 to US$1.00, the exchange rate in effect on December 31, 2020 set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. We make no representation that any Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate, the rates stated below, or at all.

The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of Renminbi into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade.

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of current or historical facts are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

You can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “likely to” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about:

our goals and strategies;
our future business development, financial condition and results of operations;
expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;
our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our services;
our expectation regarding the impact of any communicable diseases, specifically COVID-19, on our business, financial condition and results of operations;
prospects for and competition in our industry, and
government policies and regulations relating to our industry.

You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. Other sections of this annual report include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This annual report on Form 20-F also contains statistical data and estimates that we obtained from industry publications and reports generated by third-party providers of market intelligence, including the size, growth rates and other data relating to the financial services market in China. Although we have not independently verified the data, we believe that the publications and reports are reliable. The market data contained in this annual report involves a number of assumptions, estimates and limitations. The financial services market in China and its components may not grow at the rates projected by market data, or at all. The failure of these markets to grow at the projected rates may have a material adverse effect on our business and the market price of our ADSs. If any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data turns out to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. In addition, projections, assumptions and estimates of our future performance and the future performance of the industry in which we operate are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors, including those described in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

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The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this annual report is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.

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PART I

Jianpu Technology Inc. is not an operating company but a Cayman Islands holding company with operations primarily conducted by our directly owned subsidiaries and through contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities based in China. PRC laws and regulations restrict and impose conditions on foreign direct investment in companies involved in the value-added telecommunication services. Therefore, we operate such business or may operate certain other businesses which are also subject to foreign investment restrictions in China through our variable interest entities Beijing Rongdiandian Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“RDD”), Beijing Kartner Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“KTN”), Beijing Guangkezhixun Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“GKZX”), Hangzhou Scorpion Technology Co., Ltd. (“HST”) and Beijing Tianyi Chuangshi Technology Co., Ltd. (“TCT”), which we refer to collectively as “our VIEs” or “the VIEs” in this annual report, and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs and their respective nominee shareholders to control the business operations of our VIEs. Investors in our ADSs thus do not directly hold equity interests in our operating entities in China but instead are holding equity interests in a Cayman Islands holding company. As used in this annual report, “we,” “us,” “our company” or “our” refers to Jianpu Technology Inc., a Cayman Islands exempted company and its subsidiaries and, in the context of describing our operations and consolidated financial information, also include our VIEs and their subsidiaries in China, provided that prior to the Restructuring, excludes the digital lending business that was previously operated by and was continued to be carried out by RONG360 after the Restructuring.

We face various legal and operational risks and uncertainties associated with being based in or having our operations primarily in China and the complex and evolving PRC laws and regulations. For example, we face risks associated with regulatory approvals on offerings conducted overseas by and foreign investment in China-based issuers, the use of our VIEs, anti-monopoly regulatory actions, and oversight on cybersecurity and data privacy, as well as the lack of PCAOB inspection on our auditor, which may impact our ability to conduct certain businesses, accept foreign investments, or list on a United States or other foreign exchange. These risks could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, or cause the value of such securities to significantly decline. For a detailed description of risks related to doing business in China, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China.”

Our corporate structure is subject to risks associated with our contractual arrangements with our VIEs. Investors may never directly hold equity interests in our VIEs. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business do not comply with PRC laws and regulations, or if these regulations or their interpretations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties, forced to relinquish our interests in those operations or required to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with the VIEs or deregistering the equity pledge of the VIEs, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over the VIEs and thus have a material effect on our operations and result in the value of the securities diminishing substantially. Our holding company, our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs, and investors of our company face uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government that could affect the enforceability of the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and, consequently, significantly affect the financial performance of our VIEs and our company as a whole. For a detailed description of the risks associated with our corporate structure, please refer to risks disclosed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

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ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

Investments in our ADSs involves significant risks. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” for detailed discussions of these risks. In particular, we face the below risks and uncertainties related to our corporate structure and related to doing business in China:

We are a Cayman Islands holding company with no equity ownership in our VIEs and we conduct our operations in China primarily through (i) our PRC subsidiaries and (ii) our VIEs, with which we have maintained contractual arrangements. Investors in our ADSs thus are not directly holding equity interest in our operating entities in China but instead are holding equity interest in a Cayman Islands holding company. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business do not comply with PRC laws and regulations, or if these regulations or their interpretations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations. Our holding company, our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs, and investors of our company face uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government that could affect the enforceability of the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and, consequently, significantly affect the financial performance of our VIEs and our company as a whole;
Our auditor is currently not subject to inspections by the PCAOB. Our ADSs may be delisted under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or fully investigate auditors who are located in China, as it has not been and is currently unable to do. The delisting of our ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections deprives our investors with the benefits of such inspections.
PRC government’s significant authority in regulating our operations and its oversight and control over offerings conducted overseas by, and foreign investment in, China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. Implementation of industry-wide regulations in this nature may cause the value of such securities to significantly decline. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The PRC government’s significant oversight and discretion over our business operation could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs;” and
Risks and uncertainties arising from the legal system in China, including risks and uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws and quickly evolving rules and regulations in China, could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

Our Holding Company Structure and Contractual Arrangements with our VIEs

Jianpu Technology Inc. is a holding company with no material operations of its own. We conduct our operations primarily through directly owned subsidiaries and through our VIEs. Our value-added telecommunication services in the PRC have been conducted through our VIEs in order to comply with the PRC laws and regulations, which prohibit or restrict foreign investments in companies involved in such restricted businesses. Investors in our ADSs are not directly holding equity interest in our operating entities in China but instead are holding equity interest in a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

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The following diagram illustrates the principal entities in our corporate structure as of the date of this annual report:

Graphic

Notes:

(1)Our VIEs include RDD, KTN, GKZX, HST and TCT. Shareholders of RDD and their respective shareholdings in RDD and relationship with our company are (i) Jiayan Lu (40%), our chief operating officer and co-founder; (ii) Huijing Ye (40%), family member of one of our co-founders; and (iii) Caofeng Liu (20%), our chief technology officer and co-founder. Shareholders of KTN and their respective shareholdings in KTN and relationship with our company are (i) Hui Li (60%), our employee; and (ii) Yang Liu (40%), our employee. Shareholders of GKZX and their respective shareholdings in GKZX and relationship with our company are (i) Xiang Zhu (60%), our employee; and (ii) Dan Huang (40%), our former employee. Shareholders of HST and their respective shareholdings in HST and relationship with our company are (i) Hangzhou Magic Ant Investment Management Partnership (limited partnership) (73.8%), an investment holding company controlled by the founder of Databook Tech Ltd. and its subsidiaries and VIE, collectively referred to as Databook in this annual report; and (ii) Tingxin Lu (26.2%), family member of one of our co-founders. Shareholders of TCT and their respective shareholdings in TCT and relationship with our company are (i) Xiaoqing Hu (51%), our employee; and (ii) Yuexuan Gao (49%), our employee. Our VIEs’ subsidiaries include RDD's subsidiary, Shanghai Anguo Insurance Brokerage Co., Ltd. Our contractual arrangements with HST and its shareholders are entered into through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Hangzhou Magnet Technology Co., Ltd.

We have entered into a series of contractual arrangements, including exclusive purchase option agreements, equity pledge agreements, powers of attorneys and exclusive business cooperation agreements, with our VIEs and their shareholders. In particular, through the exclusive purchase option agreements, the shareholders of our VIEs irrevocably grant our PRC subsidiaries exclusive options to purchase all or part of the shareholders’ equity interests in the VIEs and all or part of the assets of the VIEs to the extent permitted under PRC law. Through the equity pledge agreements, the shareholders of our VIEs pledge all of their equity interests in the VIEs to guarantee their and the VIEs’ performance of their obligations under the contractual arrangements. Pursuant to the powers of attorneys, the shareholders of our VIEs appoint our PRC subsidiaries as their attorneys-in-fact to exercise all shareholder rights in our VIEs. Through the exclusive business cooperation agreements, our PRC subsidiaries have the exclusive right to provide the VIEs with technical, consulting and other services needed for the business of the VIEs and are entitled to receive a service fee from the VIEs in return. These contractual arrangements allow us to exercise effective control over our VIEs, receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIEs, and have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in our VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of our VIEs, and we treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of our VIEs and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure— The shareholders of the VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.” and “Item 4 Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Our VIEs.”

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However, the contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our VIEs, and we may incur substantial costs to enforce the terms of the arrangements. The legal environment in the PRC is not as developed as in other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability, as a Cayman holding company, to enforce these contractual arrangements. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIEs and their shareholders to exercise control over a significant part of our business, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.” There are also substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules regarding the status of the rights of our Cayman Islands holding company with respect to its contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their shareholders. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or our VIEs are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.”

Permissions for Our Operations and the Operations of Our VIEs and Securities Issuances to Foreign Investors

Due to the restriction of foreign investment in providing value-added telecommunication services in China under PRC laws and regulations, including internet information provision services, we rely on the contractual arrangements with RDD, one of our VIEs, to provide such services. RDD has obtained a value-added telecommunication services license for internet information services, known as an ICP license, issued by the Beijing Telecommunication Administration in July 2017. Any challenge to the validity of these arrangements may significantly disrupt our business, subject us to sanctions including revoking the business licenses and/or ICP license or other operating licenses of such entities, compromise enforceability of our contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.”

In addition, we operate insurance brokerage business through Shanghai Anguo Insurance Brokerage Co., Ltd., which holds an insurance brokerage business license. The insurance brokerage business is a highly regulated industry in China, and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, or the CBIRC, has extensive authority to supervise and regulate the insurance industry in China and has been enhancing its supervision over this industry in recent years, and new laws, regulations and regulatory requirements have been promulgated and implemented from time to time. If any non-compliance incidents in our insurance brokerage business operation are identified, we may be required to take certain rectification measures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, or we may be subject to other administrative penalties. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related businesses and companies and other businesses we are or will be engaged in.”

Recent Regulatory Developments

On July 10, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China published the Measures for Cybersecurity Review (Revised Draft for Comments), which will replace the current Measures for Cybersecurity Review after it is adopted and becomes effective. The draft measures, among other things, stipulate that operators of “critical information infrastructure” or data processors holding over one million users’ personal information shall apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office for a cybersecurity review before any public offering at a foreign stock exchange. As advised by our PRC counsel, the draft measures were released for public comment only, and its provisions and anticipated adoption or effective date may be subject to change and thus its interpretation and implementation remain substantially uncertain. We cannot predict the impact of the draft measures, if any, at this stage, and we will closely monitor and assess any development in the rule-making process. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Our business is subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection in China. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and any failure or perceived failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in negative publicity, legal proceedings, increased cost of operations, or otherwise harm our business.”

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Under the current Measures for Cybersecurity Review and other PRC cybersecurity laws and regulations, as well as the draft measures, critical information infrastructure operators that intend to purchase internet products and services that affect or may affect national security must be subject to the cybersecurity review. However, the exact scope of “critical information infrastructure operators” under the draft measures and the current regulatory regime remains unclear, and the PRC governmental authorities may have wide discretion in the interpretation and enforcement of these laws. In addition, the draft measures also stipulate that any data processor carrying out data processing activities that affect or may affect national security should also be subject to the cybersecurity review. Currently, the draft measures have not directly affected our business and operations, but in anticipation of the strengthened implementation of cybersecurity laws and regulations and the continued expansion of our business, we face potential risks if we are deemed as a critical information infrastructure operator under the PRC cybersecurity laws and regulations. In such case, we must fulfill certain obligations as required under the PRC cybersecurity laws and regulations, including, among others, storing personal information and important data collected and produced within the PRC territory during our operations in China, which we have fulfilled in our business, and we may be subject to review when purchasing internet products and services. If a final version of the draft measures is adopted, we may be subject to review when conducting data processing activities, and may face challenges in addressing its requirements and make necessary changes to our internal policies and practices in data processing.

As of the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations on cybersecurity review made by the Cyberspace Administration of China on such basis, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions in such respect.

On July 6, 2021, the relevant PRC governmental authorities made public the Opinions on Strictly Scrutinizing Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. As these opinions are recently issued, official guidance and related implementation rules have not been issued yet and the interpretation of these opinions remains unclear at this stage. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.” As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions from the CSRC or any other PRC governmental authorities.

Cash Flows through Our Organization

Jianpu Technology Inc. is a holding company with no material operations of its own. We conduct our operations primarily through our PRC subsidiaries and our VIEs in China. As a result, Jianpu Technology Inc.’s ability to pay dividends depends upon dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries. If our existing PRC subsidiaries or any newly formed ones incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC law, each of our subsidiaries and our VIEs in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds until such reserve funds reach 50% of its registered capital. In addition, any of our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to enterprise expansion funds and staff bonus and welfare funds at its discretion, and our VIEs may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to a discretionary surplus fund at its discretion. The statutory reserve funds and the discretionary funds are not distributable as cash dividends. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, profit appropriation to statutory surplus fund for our entities incorporated in the PRC was approximately nil, RMB1.9 million and nil respectively. No appropriation to other reserve funds was made for any of the periods presented. Remittance of dividends by a wholly foreign-owned company out of China is subject to examination by the banks designated by SAFE. Our PRC subsidiaries have not paid dividends and will not be able to pay dividends until they generate accumulated profits and meet the requirements for statutory reserve funds.

Under PRC law, we may provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries only through capital contributions or loans, and to our VIEs only through loans, subject to satisfaction of applicable government registration and approval requirements. For risks relating to the fund flows of our operations in China, see “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.”

9

In the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Jianpu Technology Inc. extended loans with outstanding principal amount of RMB821.9 million, RMB268.2 million and RMB65.9 million, respectively, to our intermediate holding companies and subsidiaries, and a VIE received nil, RMB30.0 million and RMB9.6 million as capital or investment respectively. Jianpu Technology Inc. has not declared or paid any cash dividends, nor has any present plan to pay any cash dividends on our ordinary shares in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.” For PRC and United States federal income tax considerations of an investment in our ADSs, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation.”

10

Financial Information Related to the VIEs

The following table presents the condensed consolidating schedule of financial position for our VIEs and other entities as of the dates presented.

    

As of December 31,

2019

2020

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

RMB

RMB

Consolidating Schedule of Financial Position

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

ASSETS

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Current assets:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents

 

143,147

 

6,673

 

545,090

 

 

694,910

 

5,615

 

15,649

 

528,715

 

 

549,979

Restricted cash and time deposits

 

 

1,000

 

248,770

 

 

249,770

 

1,488

 

24,747

 

365,190

 

 

391,425

Short-term investment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20,000

 

 

20,000

Accounts receivable, net

 

 

11,232

 

334,293

 

 

345,525

 

 

19,410

 

220,714

 

 

240,124

Amount due from related party

 

 

34,456

 

(27,374)

 

 

7,082

 

13,050

 

31,487

 

(43,665)

 

 

872

Amount due from subsidiaries and VIEs(1)

 

1,313,675

 

173,024

 

96,197

 

(1,582,896)

(1)

 

1,287,414

 

99,397

 

132,475

 

(1,519,286)

(1)

Prepayments and other current as-sets

 

599

 

17,173

 

100,651

 

118,423

 

2,102

 

10,182

 

54,011

 

66,295

Total current assets

 

1,457,421

 

243,558

 

1,297,627

 

(1,582,896)

 

1,415,710

 

1,309,669

 

200,872

 

1,277,440

 

(1,519,286)

 

1,268,695

Non-current assets:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Property and equipment, net

 

 

12,925

 

23,761

 

 

36,686

 

 

11,671

 

6,443

 

 

18,114

Intangible assets, net

 

 

21,398

 

5,663

 

 

27,061

 

1,368

 

23,637

 

167

 

 

25,172

Investments in VIEs(2)

36,246

(36,246)

(2)

36,246

(36,246)

(2)

Goodwill

 

 

7,313

 

5,384

 

 

12,697

 

 

 

10,236

 

 

10,236

Restricted cash, time deposit and in-vestment

 

 

28,038

 

96,369

 

 

124,407

 

22,327

 

5,000

 

7,254

 

 

34,581

Other non-current assets

 

28,861

 

1,107

 

15,192

 

 

45,160

 

26,994

 

68

 

19,874

 

 

46,936

Total non-current assets

 

28,861

 

70,781

 

182,615

 

(36,246)

 

246,011

 

50,689

 

40,376

 

80,220

 

(36,246)

 

135,039

Total assets

 

1,486,282

 

314,339

 

1,480,242

 

(1,619,142)

 

1,661,721

 

1,360,358

 

241,248

 

1,357,660

 

(1,555,532)

 

1,403,734

LIABILITIES, MEZZANINE EQUITY AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Current liabilities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Short-term borrowings

 

 

 

60,000

 

 

60,000

 

 

 

158,477

 

 

158,477

Accounts payable

 

552

 

16,720

 

167,046

 

 

184,318

 

877

 

17,409

 

167,618

 

 

185,904

Advances from customers

 

 

164

 

43,836

 

 

44,000

 

 

3,845

 

50,430

 

 

54,275

Tax payable

 

 

19,205

 

2,963

 

 

22,168

 

 

19,315

 

4,744

 

 

24,059

Amount due to related party

 

 

 

34,310

 

 

34,310

 

 

4,719

 

4,776

 

 

9,495

Amount due to subsidiaries and VIEs(1)

 

59,237

 

 

1,523,659

 

(1,582,896)

(1)

 

59,237

 

 

1,460,049

 

(1,519,286)

(1)

Deficit in subsidiaries and VIEs(2)

 

339,826

 

 

 

(339,826)

(2)

 

577,872

 

 

 

(577,872)

(2)

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

10,990

 

135,883

 

77,145

 

 

224,018

 

14,832

 

127,512

 

78,522

 

 

220,866

Total current liabilities

 

410,605

 

171,972

 

1,908,959

 

(1,922,722)

 

568,814

 

652,818

 

172,800

 

1,924,616

 

(2,097,158)

 

653,076

Non-current liabilities:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Deferred tax liabilities

 

 

5,250

 

551

 

 

5,801

 

 

4,000

 

1,146

 

 

5,146

Other non-current liabilities

 

14,285

 

408

 

452

 

 

15,145

 

7,190

 

 

12,684

 

 

19,874

Total non-current liabilities

 

14,285

 

5,658

 

1,003

 

 

20,946

 

7,190

 

4,000

 

13,830

 

 

25,020

Total liabilities

 

424,890

 

177,630

 

1,909,962

 

(1,922,722)

 

589,760

 

660,008

 

176,800

 

1,938,446

 

(2,097,158)

 

678,096

Mezzanine equity:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Redeemable non-controlling interest

 

 

 

5,556

 

 

5,556

 

 

 

1,455

 

 

1,455

Total Jianpu’s shareholders’ equity/(deficit)(2)

 

1,061,392

 

136,709

 

(440,289)

 

303,580

(2)

1,061,392

 

700,350

 

64,448

 

(606,074)

 

541,626

(2)

700,350

Non-controlling interests(3)

 

 

 

5,013

(3)

 

5,013

 

 

 

23,833

(3)

 

23,833

Total shareholders’ equity/(deficit)

 

1,061,392

 

136,709

 

(435,276)

 

303,580

 

1,066,405

 

700,350

 

64,448

 

(582,241)

 

541,626

 

724,183

Total liabilities, mezzanine equity and shareholders’ equity/(deficit)

 

1,486,282

 

314,339

 

1,480,242

 

(1,619,142)

 

1,661,721

 

1,360,358

 

241,248

 

1,357,660

 

(1,555,532)

 

1,403,734

11

The following table presents the condensed consolidating schedules of results of operations and cash flows for our VIEs and other entities for the periods presented.

For the Year Ended December 31,

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

VIEs and their

Other

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

 subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

RMB

RMB

RMB

Condensed Consolidating Schedule of Results of Operations

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Revenues:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Total revenues(4)

183,003

    

1,832,849

(93,976)

(4)

1,921,876

666,683

1,369,064

(600,020)

(4)

1,435,727

285,591

565,508

(265,337)

(4)

585,762

Cost of revenues(5)

 

 

(31,642)

 

(163,090)

 

240

(5)

(194,492)

 

 

(9,367)

 

(124,980)

 

379

(5)

(133,968)

 

 

(19,332)

 

(105,583)

 

6,744

(5)

(118,171)

Gross profit

 

 

151,361

 

1,669,759

 

(93,736)

 

1,727,384

 

 

657,316

 

1,244,084

 

(599,641)

 

1,301,759

 

 

266,259

 

459,925

 

(258,593)

 

467,591

Operating expenses(6):

 

(9,724)

 

(124,082)

 

(1,865,970)

 

93,736

(6)

(1,906,040)

 

(17,705)

 

(724,143)

 

(1,715,061)

 

599,641

 

(1,857,268)

 

(37,874)

 

(341,051)

 

(669,636)

 

258,593

(6)

(789,968)

Income/(Loss) from operations

 

(9,724)

 

27,279

 

(196,211)

 

 

(178,656)

 

(17,705)

 

(66,827)

 

(470,977)

 

 

(555,509)

 

(37,874)

 

(74,792)

 

(209,711)

 

 

(322,377)

Interest income /(expenses)

 

190

 

30

 

4,817

 

 

5,037

 

97

 

675

 

4,328

 

 

5,100

 

10

 

200

 

(2,500)

 

 

(2,290)

Loss from subsidiaries and VIEs(7)

 

(160,399)

 

 

 

160,399

(7)

 

(440,642)

 

 

 

440,642

(7)

 

(272,793)

 

 

 

272,793

(7)

Others, net

 

5,316

 

756

 

3,288

 

 

9,360

 

6,495

 

4,804

 

486

 

 

11,785

 

6,508

 

1,447

 

3,283

 

 

11,238

Income/(Loss) before income tax(7)

 

(164,617)

 

28,065

 

(188,106)

 

160,399

(7)

(164,259)

 

(451,755)

 

(61,348)

 

(466,163)

 

440,642

(7)

(538,624)

 

(304,149)

 

(73,145)

 

(208,928)

 

272,793

(7)

(313,429)

Income tax benefits/(expenses)

 

 

(9,559)

 

14,032

 

 

4,473

 

 

(8,624)

 

16,629

 

 

8,005

 

 

884

 

399

 

 

1,283

Net income/(loss)

 

(164,617)

 

18,506

 

(174,074)

 

160,399

 

(159,786)

 

(451,755)

 

(69,972)

 

(449,534)

 

440,642

 

(530,619)

 

(304,149)

 

(72,261)

 

(208,529)

 

272,793

 

(312,146)

For the Year Ended December 31,

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

VIEs and their

Other

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

VIEs and their

Other 

Eliminating 

Consolidated 

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

 subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

    

Parent

    

 subsidiaries

    

subsidiaries

    

adjustments

    

totals

RMB

RMB

RMB

Condensed Consolidating Schedules of Cash Flows

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net cash provided by/(used in) operating activities

 

(8,005)

 

28,292

 

(93,114)

 

 

(72,827)

 

(9,120)

 

(68,513)

 

(123,204)

 

 

(200,837)

 

(71,787)

 

10,221

 

(45,932)

 

 

(107,498)

Proceeds from maturity of short-term investments and restricted investment

 

 

85,594

 

1,055

 

 

86,649

 

 

233,363

 

140,929

 

 

374,292

 

 

13,600

 

35,000

 

 

48,600

Purchases of short-term investments and restricted investment

 

 

(88,350)

 

 

 

(88,350)

 

 

(179,500)

 

(151,990)

 

 

(331,490)

 

 

 

(40,000)

 

 

(40,000)

Purchases of intangible assets, property and equipment

 

 

(12,367)

 

(29,468)

 

 

(41,835)

 

 

(972)

 

(15,394)

 

 

(16,366)

 

(1,260)

 

(723)

 

(2,148)

 

 

(4,131)

Proceeds from sale of property and equipment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

2

 

 

11

 

 

1,071

 

6,675

 

 

7,746

Cash paid for long-term investments

 

(27,921)

 

 

 

 

(27,921)

 

 

(1,000)

 

(2,872)

 

 

(3,872)

 

 

 

(861)

 

 

(861)

Cash paid for business combination, net of cash acquired

 

(44,466)

 

670

 

(65,774)

 

 

(109,570)

 

 

(20,541)

 

(4,043)

 

 

(24,584)

 

 

(10,484)

 

(2,760)

 

 

(13,244)

Transfer to restricted time deposits

 

 

 

(142,411)

 

 

(142,411)

 

 

 

(90,775)

 

 

(90,775)

 

 

 

(89,375)

 

 

(89,375)

Maturity of restricted time deposits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45,327

 

 

45,327

 

 

 

 

 

Investments and loans extended to subsidiaries and VIEs(8), (9)

 

(821,909)

 

 

 

821,909

(8), (9)

 

(268,198)

 

 

(30,000)

 

298,198

(8), (9)

 

(65,907)

 

 

(9,600)

 

75,507

(8), (9)

Net cash provided by/(used in) investing activities

 

(894,296)

 

(14,453)

 

(236,598)

 

821,909

 

(323,438)

 

(268,198)

 

31,359

 

(108,816)

 

298,198

 

(47,457)

 

(67,167)

 

3,464

 

(103,069)

 

75,507

 

(91,265)

Receipt of loans extended by owner(9)

 

 

 

821,909

 

(821,909)

(9)

 

 

 

268,198

 

(268,198)

(9)

 

 

 

65,907

 

(65,907)

(9)

Receipt as investment or capital in-crease(8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30,000

 

 

(30,000)

(8)

 

 

9,600

 

 

(9,600)

(8)

Proceeds from employees exercising stock options

 

508

 

 

 

 

508

 

10,017

 

 

 

 

10,017

 

120

 

 

 

 

120

Share repurchase

 

(70,109)

 

 

 

 

(70,109)

 

(134,616)

 

 

 

 

(134,616)

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from short-term borrowings

 

 

 

130,000

 

 

130,000

 

 

 

137,082

 

 

137,082

 

 

 

208,477

 

 

208,477

Repayment of short-term borrowings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(207,082)

 

 

(207,082)

 

 

 

(110,000)

 

 

(110,000)

Purchase of non-controlling interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3,435)

 

 

 

 

(3,435)

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by/(used in) financing activities

 

(69,601)

 

 

951,909

 

(821,909)

 

60,399

 

(128,034)

 

30,000

 

198,198

 

(298,198)

 

(198,034)

 

120

 

9,600

 

164,384

 

(75,507)

 

98,597

Notes:

12

(1)It represents the elimination of intercompany balances among parent, the VIEs and our subsidiaries.
(2)It represents the elimination of the investment in the VIEs and subsidiaries by Jianpu.
(3)It represents the non-controlling interest recognized at the subsidiaries sub-consolidation level and Jianpu consolidated level.
(4)Intercompany revenues of 1) marketing services primarily for credit card recommendation business provided by our VIEs to our subsidiaries, and 2) technical support and personnel outsourcing among our subsidiaries and VIEs due to infrastructure sharing were eliminated at the consolidated level.
(5)Intercompany cost of revenues corresponding to intercompany revenue of personnel support service were eliminated at the consolidated level.
(6)Intercompany operating expenses corresponding to intercompany revenues were eliminated at consolidation level.
(7)It represents the elimination of loss pick-up by Jianpu from subsidiaries and VIEs with the net losses recognized at the subsidiary and VIE level.
(8)Cash paid by Jianpu to subsidiaries and a VIE as investment or capital increase.
(9)Loans extended from Jianpu to our subsidiaries.

13

A.Selected Financial Data

Our Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following selected consolidated statements of comprehensive loss for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and selected consolidated balance sheets, as of December 31, 2019 and 2020 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report. Our selected data from consolidated statements of comprehensive loss for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2017, and the consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this annual report. You should read this selected consolidated financial data in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” included elsewhere in this annual report. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods.

    

Year Ended December 31,

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

 

(in thousands, except for share, per share and per ADS data)

Selected Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Recommendation services: Loans(1)

 

238,846

 

1,119,456

 

1,015,407

 

666,307

 

109,814

 

16,830

Credit cards

 

64,911

 

228,905

 

689,822

 

585,993

 

294,567

 

45,144

Total recommendation services

 

303,757

 

1,348,361

 

1,705,229

 

1,252,300

 

404,381

 

61,974

Big data and system-based risk management services(2)

 

2,322

 

36,306

 

106,597

 

134,927

 

144,227

 

22,104

Advertising, marketing and other services

 

50,308

 

61,106

 

110,050

 

48,500

 

37,154

 

5,694

Total revenues

 

356,387

 

1,445,773

 

1,921,876

 

1,435,727

 

585,762

 

89,772

Cost of revenues

 

(66,683)

 

(143,828)

 

(194,492)

 

(133,968)

 

(118,171)

 

(18,111)

Gross profit

 

289,704

 

1,301,945

 

1,727,384

 

1,301,759

 

467,591

 

71,661

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Sales and marketing(3)

 

(382,915)

 

(1,227,896)

 

(1,486,399)

 

(1,199,346)

 

(481,719)

 

(73,827)

Research and development

 

(72,832)

 

(153,905)

 

(241,270)

 

(272,343)

 

(154,775)

 

(23,720)

General and administrative

 

(16,273)

 

(93,718)

 

(178,371)

 

(100,896)

 

(136,581)

 

(20,932)

Impairment loss

 

 

 

 

(254,683)

 

(16,893)

 

(2,589)

Penalties

 

 

 

 

(30,000)

 

 

Loss from operations

 

(182,316)

 

(173,574)

 

(178,656)

 

(555,509)

 

(322,377)

 

(49,407)

Net interest income/(expenses)

 

 

 

5,037

 

5,100

 

(2,290)

 

(351)

Others, net

 

191

 

(169)

 

9,360

 

11,785

 

11,238

 

1,722

Loss before income tax

 

(182,125)

 

(173,743)

 

(164,259)

 

(538,624)

 

(313,429)

 

(48,036)

Income tax (expenses)/benefits

 

 

(28,382)

 

4,473

 

8,005

 

1,283

 

197

Net loss

 

(182,125)

 

(202,125)

 

(159,786)

 

(530,619)

 

(312,146)

 

(47,839)

Less: net income/(loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

 

4,829

 

(78,859)

 

(7,999)

 

(1,226)

Net loss attributable to Jianpu’s shareholders

 

(182,125)

 

(202,125)

 

(164,615)

 

(451,760)

 

(304,147)

 

(46,613)

Other comprehensive (loss)/income, net

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Foreign currency translation adjustments

 

 

(21,170)

 

59,658

 

14,685

 

(52,185)

 

(7,998)

Total other comprehensive (loss)/income

 

 

(21,170)

 

59,658

 

14,685

 

(52,185)

 

(7,998)

Total comprehensive loss

 

(182,125)

 

(223,295)

 

(100,128)

 

(515,934)

 

(364,331)

 

(55,837)

Less: total comprehensive income/(loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

 

5,568

 

(78,732)

 

(8,878)

 

(1,361)

Total comprehensive loss attributable to Jianpu’s shareholders

 

(182,125)

 

(223,295)

 

(105,696)

 

(437,202)

 

(355,453)

 

(54,476)

Net loss per share attributable to Jianpu’s shareholders

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic and diluted

 

(0.53)

 

(0.57)

 

(0.39)

 

(1.07)

 

(0.72)

 

(0.11)

Net loss per ADS(4) attributable to Jianpu’s shareholders

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic and diluted

 

(10.54)

 

(11.44)

 

(7.89)

 

(21.48)

 

(14.38)

 

(2.20)

Weighted average number of shares(5)

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic and diluted

 

345,541,350

 

353,452,309

 

417,315,644

 

420,575,827

 

423,096,353

 

423,096,353

Notes:

(1)Including revenue from related party of RMB19.9 million, RMB103.0 million, RMB105.5 million, RMB32.0 million and RMB4.8 million (US$0.7 million) for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

14

(2)Including revenue from related party of nil, nil, RMB13.4 million, RMB6.9 million and RMB3.6 million (US$0.6 million) for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
(3)Including expenses from related party of nil, nil, RMB51.8 million, RMB21.1 million and RMB0.2 million (US$0.03 million) for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
(4)Each ADS represents 20 Class A ordinary shares. The issuance of ordinary shares to RONG360 Inc. has been retrospectively reflected for all periods presented herein.
(5)1,500,000,000 shares authorized, US$0.0001 par value. 428,063,797 shares (including 325,592,002 Class A ordinary shares, and 102,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) issued and 415,246,557 shares (including 312,774,762 Class A ordinary shares and 102,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) outstanding as of December 31, 2018, 430,463,797 shares (including 333,992,002 Class A ordinary shares, and 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) issued and 422,683,735 shares (including 326,211,940 Class A ordinary shares and 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) outstanding as of December 31, 2019, respectively, and 430,463,797 shares (including 333,992,002 Class A ordinary shares, and 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) issued and 423,627,480 shares (including 327,155,685 Class A ordinary shares and 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares) outstanding as of December 31, 2020.

    

As of December 31,

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

 

(in thousands)

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheets:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

1,543,811

 

1,270,001

 

694,910

 

549,979

 

84,288

Restricted cash, time deposits and investment

 

 

 

142,411

 

249,770

 

391,425

 

59,989

Short-term investment

 

 

 

78,462

 

 

20,000

 

3,065

Accounts receivable, net(1)

 

57,536

 

182,090

 

444,199

 

345,525

 

240,124

 

36,801

Amount due from related parties

 

21,128

 

 

 

7,082

 

872

 

134

Prepayments and other current assets

 

50,415

 

161,027

 

160,131

 

118,423

 

66,295

 

10,160

Total current assets

 

129,079

 

1,886,928

 

2,095,204

 

1,415,710

 

1,268,695

 

194,437

Restricted cash, time deposits and investment

 

 

 

 

124,407

 

34,581

 

5,300

Total non-current assets

 

5,404

 

26,587

 

349,931

 

246,011

 

135,039

 

20,696

Total assets

 

134,483

 

1,913,515

 

2,445,135

 

1,661,721

 

1,403,734

 

215,133

Short-term borrowings

 

 

 

130,000

 

60,000

 

158,477

 

24,288

Accounts payable

 

32,433

 

177,373

 

201,543

 

184,318

 

185,904

 

28,491

Advances from customers

 

18,149

 

71,538

 

115,597

 

44,000

 

54,275

 

8,318

Tax payable

 

1,849

 

17,876

 

39,446

 

22,168

 

24,059

 

3,687

Amount due to related parties

 

 

35,427

 

72,750

 

34,310

 

9,495

 

1,455

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

 

29,445

 

72,839

 

144,478

 

224,018

 

220,866

 

33,849

Total current liabilities

 

81,876

 

375,053

 

703,814

 

568,814

 

653,076

 

100,088

Total non-current liabilities

 

 

 

37,403

 

20,946

 

25,020

 

3,835

Total liabilities

 

81,876

 

375,053

 

741,217

 

589,760

 

678,096

 

103,923

Mezzanine equity

 

 

 

 

5,556

 

1,455

 

223

Total invested equity/shareholders' equity

 

52,607

 

1,538,462

 

1,703,918

 

1,066,405

 

724,183

 

110,987

Note:

(1)Including amounts billed through RONG360 of RMB57,536 thousand, RMB141,190 thousand, RMB134,966 thousand, RMB3,549 thousand and nil as of December 31, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

We completed a corporate restructuring in 2018 (“Restructuring,” for more details see “Item 4 Information on the Company—A. History and Development of the Company”) in order to strengthen our positioning as an independent open platform. As part of the Restructuring, all business operations previously operated by RONG360 prior to the Restructuring except for the digital lending business was transferred from RONG360 to us.

15

B.Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C.Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

D.Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business

We have incurred significant losses and we may continue to experience losses in the future.

We have incurred significant losses in the past. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, we had net loss of RMB159.8 million, RMB530.6 million and RMB312.1 million (US$47.8 million), respectively. We also had loss from operations at similar levels during those periods. In addition, we had cash used in operations of RMB72.8 million, RMB200.8 million and RMB107.5 million (US$16.5 million) in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. Our ability to achieve profitability depends in large part on our ability to manage our sales and marketing expenses (excluding share-based compensation), which accounted for 77.0%, 82.9% and 82.2% of our total revenues in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. We intend to manage and further reduce our sales and marketing expenses as a proportion of our total revenues, but there can be no assurance that we will achieve this goal. Our ability to achieve profitability is also affected by our ability to grow total revenues, which was RMB1,921.9 million, RMB1,435.7 million and RMB585.8 million (US$89.8 million) in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The decreases in total revenues from 2018 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2020 were primarily due to decreases in revenues from recommendation services, resulting from the decreases of number of financial products available on our platform given the credit tightening, change of industry dynamics, and in 2020, the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and decreases in revenues from advertising, marketing and other services. Our growth may continue to slow down, and revenues may continue to decline for a number of possible reasons, some of which are beyond our control, including decreasing consumer spending, increasing competition, declining growth of our overall market or industry, the emergence of alternative business models, changes in rules, regulations, government policies or general economic conditions. It is difficult to evaluate our prospects, as we may not have sufficient experience in addressing the risks to which companies operating in rapidly evolving markets may be exposed.

Our limited operating history in the rapidly evolving online and mobile consumer finance market in China makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects.

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and ability to make profit. We launched our online platform with loan products recommendation services in the first quarter of 2012, and introduced credit card recommendation services in the third quarter of 2013. In the fourth quarter of 2019, we further diversified the types of financial products on our platform by introducing insurance products. We introduced our risk management services and solutions in the second quarter of 2015, and enriched our SaaS-based modules and provided system-based total solutions in 2019 and 2020. We expanded our footprints to outside of mainland China, including Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, starting in 2018. We operate in China’s online and mobile consumer finance market, which is rapidly evolving and may not develop as we anticipate. The business models of the players in this market continue to evolve. The regulatory framework governing the industry is also still evolving and will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Other participants in the industry, including users and financial service providers, may have difficulty distinguishing our platform, services and solutions from those of our competitors. As the industry and our business develop, we may modify our business model or change our platform, services and solutions. These changes may not achieve expected results and may have a material and adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

You should consider our business and future annual report in light of the risks and challenges we may encounter in this rapidly evolving industry, including, among other things, our ability to:

expand our user base and increase user activities on our platform;

16

provide diversified and distinguishable services and solutions to financial service providers;
enhance our data analytical and risk management capabilities;
improve our operational efficiency;
maintain a reliable, secure, high-performance and scalable technology infrastructure;
attract, retain and motivate talented employees;
anticipate and adapt to changing market conditions, including technological developments and changes in the competitive landscape; and
navigate an evolving and complex regulatory environment.

If we fail to address any or all of these risks and challenges, our business and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

We face challenges with generating and acquiring user traffic to our platform and converting the traffic into our user base.

The majority of user traffic to our platform is generated from third-party channels, rather than from direct access to our mobile apps or website. We also increasingly leverage social network and social media platform as an effective and efficient tool for user acquisition. We introduced a cooperation system called the Social Media and Partner Program in the third quarter of 2018, through which our users may register as our business partners to recommend the financial products on our platform to their social contacts through social network and social media platform, and are rewarded according to our incentive policies. The Social Media and Partner Program has been very effective in user acquisition since its inception, particularly in the recommendation of credit card products on our platform to new users. In 2020, approximately 66% of the credit card volume on our platform were from user acquired through recommendation by our business partners to their social contacts under the Social Media and Partner Program. Despite the initial success of the Social Media and Partner Program, we may not be able to continue to promote awareness of our brand and achieve widespread acceptance of our business model to increase direct access to our platform. We have incurred significant expenses on and devoted considerable resources to branding and marketing activities and user traffic acquisition, and we may continue to do so in the future. Our ability to convert user traffic to user base and retain that user base depends on users’ satisfaction with the quantity and quality of financial products offered by financial service providers and trust in the content on our platform. If we fail to meet these challenges, our business, financial performance and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

17

Failure to maintain relationships with financial service providers or develop new ones may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our relationship with financial service providers is crucial to our success. We generate substantially all of our revenues from services and solutions provided to financial service providers. Certain financial service providers have accounted for a significant portion of our revenues in the past. In 2018, our largest financial service provider was a state-owned bank, which accounted for 13% of our total revenues, in 2019, our largest financial service provider was a joint-stock bank, which accounted for 7% of our total revenues, and in 2020, our largest financial service provider was a joint-stock bank, which accounted for 14% of our total revenues. We work with these financial service providers at arm’s-length and negotiate a cooperation agreement with them on an annual basis based on our business needs and market conditions. While we continually seek to diversify our financial service providers, there can be no assurance that the concentration will further decrease. Our ability to attract users to our platform and maintain and grow our user base depends on the quantity and quality of financial products offered by financial service providers on our platform. We also provide big data and system-based risk management services and integrated solutions to financial service providers, as well as cooperate with them to provide content on our platform and obtain data for our data analytical models. Our arrangements with our financial service providers are typically not exclusive, and they may have similar arrangements with our competitors. If financial service providers are dissatisfied with our services and solutions, they may terminate their relationships with us and switch to our competitors. Moreover, we have seen financial service providers increasingly rely on their own online and technology capabilities to serve online and mobile users in recent years. There can be no assurance that we can maintain relationships with our existing financial service providers on commercially desirable terms. We may also fail to develop new relationships with additional financial service providers. As a result, our business, financial performance and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

Our match and recommendation of financial products to users may not be effective, which will result in dissatisfaction from both users and financial service providers.

We may not be able to match users with suitable financial products due to various reasons. Our search and recommendation engine may fail to function properly. The data provided to us by our users, financial service providers and third-party data partners may not be accurate or up to date. If users are recommended financial products but cannot ultimately obtain approval from financial service providers, they may consider our platform to be ineffective at matching. At the same time, financial service providers may be dissatisfied with us for not effectively helping them acquire users. After a user gets a financial product, the user may become dissatisfied with the terms and conditions of the financial product or the services provided by the financial service provider, or the financial service provider may have difficulty collecting repayments from the user. Both the user and financial service provider may associate their dissatisfaction and subsequent difficulties with our platform as the transaction was initiated on our platform. Users may consequently be reluctant to continue to use our platform and financial service providers may be hesitant to continue to partner with us. As a result, our business, reputation, financial performance and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

If we are not able to respond to changes in user preferences for financial products and provide a satisfactory user experience on our platform, we will not be able to maintain and expand our user base or effectively convert our users into customers of our financial service providers.

We believe that our user base is the cornerstone of our business. Our ability to maintain and expand our user base depends on a number of factors, including our ability to match and recommend suitable financial products for our users, the effectiveness of our curation process, and our ability to provide relevant and timely content to meet changing user needs. If we are unable to respond to changes in user preference and deliver satisfactory and distinguishable user experience, users and prospective users may switch to competing platforms or obtain financial products directly from their providers. As a result, user access to and user activity on our platform will decline, our services and solutions will be less attractive to financial service providers and our business, financial performance and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

18

We may not be able to ensure the accuracy of product information and the authenticity of financial products on our platform.

The acceptance and popularity of our platform is premised on the reliability of the financial products and information on our platform. We rely on our financial service providers for the authenticity of their financial products and the comprehensiveness, accuracy and timeliness of the related financial information. While the products and information from our financial service providers have been generally reliable, there can be no assurance that the reliability can be maintained in the future. If our financial service providers or their agents provide inauthentic financial products or incomplete, misleading, inaccurate or fraudulent information, we may lose the trust of existing and prospective users. In addition, if our users purchase financial products that they discover on our platform and they suffer losses, they may blame us and attempt to hold us responsible for their losses. Our reputation could be harmed and we could experience reduced user traffic to our platform, which would adversely affect our business and financial performance.

We may fail to develop and innovate our platform and products.

The attractiveness of our online platform to users and our technology-based services and solutions to financial service providers depends on our ability to innovate. To remain competitive, we must continue to develop and expand our product and service offerings and content. We must also continue to enhance and improve our data analytical capabilities, platform interface and technology infrastructure. These efforts may require us to develop internally, or to license, increasingly complex technologies. In addition, new content, services, solutions and technologies developed and introduced by competitors could render our content, services and solutions obsolete if we are unable to update or modify our own technology. Developing and integrating new content, services, solutions and technologies into our existing platform and infrastructure could be expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, any new features and functions may not achieve market acceptance. We may not succeed in incorporating new technologies, or may incur substantial expenses in order to do so. If we fail to develop, introduce, acquire or incorporate new features, functions or technologies effectively and on a timely basis, our business, financial performance and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We may fail to compete effectively.

The retail financial market in China is rapidly evolving and highly competitive. New competitors may emerge at any time. We may fail to compete for users and/or financial service providers against any of our existing or potential competitors. We compete as an open platform against other companies that also seek to position themselves as open platforms serving both users and financial service providers. We also compete with online platforms for financial products that are affiliated with major internet companies, including search engine, social media, e-commerce and online payment companies. Some of these internet companies also offer their financial products on our platform, so they both compete and cooperate with us. In addition, we compete with financial service providers to the extent that they offer or list financial products on their own platform, although some of these financial service providers may also offer or list financial products on our platform as well. Such financial service providers may stop utilizing our platform in order to enhance the competitiveness of their own platforms. Existing or potential competitors may have substantially greater brand recognition and possess more financial, marketing and research resources than we do. Our competitors may introduce platforms with more attractive products, content and features, or services and solutions with competitive pricing or enhanced performance that we cannot match. In addition, some of our competitors may have more resources to develop or acquire new technologies and react quicker to changing requirements of users and/or financial service providers. If we fail to compete effectively, our business, financial performance and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

19

We have limited control over the product and service quality of our financial service providers.

As users access financial products through our platform, they may have the impression that we are at least partially responsible for the quality of these products, where the user continues to interact with our platform throughout the discovery, application, approval and loan servicing process. Although we have established standards to screen financial service providers before listing their products on our platform, and to a certain extent, rank the financial products based on past user experience when we make recommendations to users, we have limited control over the quality of the financial products and the services provided by financial service providers. In the event that a user is dissatisfied with a financial product or the service of a financial service provider, we do not have any means to directly make improvements in response to user complaints. Due to the large number of financial products listed on our platform and the extensiveness of our financial service provider network, it is extremely difficult for us to monitor and ensure the product and service quality of financial service providers on our platform at any given time. If users become dissatisfied with the financial products available on our platform or the services of our financial service providers, our business, reputation, financial performance and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. For instance, in March 2019, it was reported by CCTV “315 Night” (CCTV Report), a show concerning consumer rights protection which airs annually on March 15, that certain financial products offered by third-party financial service providers on our platform contained inappropriate conducts, which were suspected of the infringement of consumer rights. In response to the CCTV Report, we promptly instituted a voluntary suspension of further downloads of our mobile apps on major mobile app stores until August 2019, during which period we conducted a comprehensive internal review of our business practice, identified and took remediation measures with respect to any inappropriate conduct on our platform that could adversely affect consumer rights, and implemented certain self-imposed improvement in terms of both our internal process regarding the on-boarding procedures and ongoing monitoring and supervision of financial service providers on our platform and our risk control processes to better protect users from participating in financial products that are out of the scope in terms of industry standard. We have also been working with the relevant regulators and industry associations in developing a set of industry wide standards or best practices to further promote financial education and consumer rights protection, including defining guidance for digital financial platforms, corporate responsibility and financial product standards. We have also strengthened our relationship with media outlets in China such as CCTV, regularly engaging in in-depth discussions with such media outlets to allow for better understanding of our business. In addition, we have also been focusing on providing better consumer rights protection education for our users, equipping them with more comprehensive financial literary and anti-fraud information so that they could better manage their own finances.

Our business may be affected by the condition and competitive landscape of China’s credit markets.

Changes in the condition of China’s credit markets generally impact the demand and supply of financial products, which in turn will affect user traffic and user activity on our platform and the demand for our services and solutions by financial service providers. The range, pricing and terms of financial products available in the market partly result from competition among financial service providers. Because the financial products on our platform are provided by third parties, we are not able to ensure they meet users’ needs and preferences at any given time. In a rising interest rate environment, our users may seek funding through other means. In a declining interest rate environment, borrowers may choose to refinance their loans with lower-priced financial products, which may not be available on our platform. There can be no assurance that our financial service providers can respond to fluctuations in interest rates in a timely manner by adjusting the financial product listings on our platform.

A credit crisis or prolonged downturn in the credit markets could severely impact our operating environment. A credit crisis or prolonged downturn in the credit markets might cause tightening in credit guidelines, limited liquidity, deterioration in credit performance and increased foreclosure activities. Since we predominantly generate our revenues from fees charged for our sales and marketing services and not on the basis of outstanding loan amounts, a decrease in transaction volumes could cause a material decline in our revenues, even though we do not bear credit risk in the event of borrower default. Moreover, a financial and credit crisis may be coupled with or trigger a downturn in the macroeconomic environment, which could cause a general decrease in lending activity over a longer period of time. If a credit crisis were to occur, particularly in China’s credit markets, our business, financial performance and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

20

Regulatory uncertainties relating to online consumer finance in China could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business or the businesses of our financial service providers may be subject to a variety of PRC laws and regulations governing financial services. The application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are ambiguous and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently between different government authorities. In particular, the PRC government’s regulatory framework governing the new and rapidly-evolving online consumer finance market, which is the source of the transactions that our platform facilitates, is rapidly evolving and is subject to further change and interpretation. The PRC government may enhance the implementation of existing laws and regulations, and may also adopt a stringent regulatory framework for the online and mobile consumer finance market in the future, and impose specific requirements (including licensing requirements) on market participants. It may be costly for us to comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations. If our practice is deemed to violate any existing or future laws and regulations, we may face injunctions, including orders to cease illegal activities, and may be subject to other penalties as determined by the relevant government authorities. For example, in June 2019, we received a fine of RMB700,000 from the Beijing Administration for Market Regulation for a piece of advertisement placed on our platform by one of our third-party financial service providers due to the advertisement’s failure to provide the appropriate risk warning labels associated with predicted financial returns listed in its content. Furthermore, a significant number of financial service providers on our platform operate in the online and mobile consumer finance market, and consequently, new government laws and regulations, stricter enforcement of existing laws and regulations or even speculation regarding such developments on our financial service providers may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and prospects. For recent updates of relevant laws and regulations, please also refer to “—If any financial product on our platform or the business practice of us or any of our financial service providers is deemed to violate any new or existing PRC laws or regulations, our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.”

Our business is subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection in China. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and any failure or perceived failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in negative publicity, legal proceedings, increased cost of operations, or otherwise harm our business.

Our business is subject to a variety of PRC laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection, and internet information in the PRC is regulated and restricted from a national security standpoint. According to the PRC National Security Law, the government shall establish institutions and mechanisms for national security review and regulation, conduct national security review on key technologies and IT products and services that affect or may affect national security. The PRC Criminal Law, as amended, prohibits companies and other entities, and their employees from obtaining a citizen’s personal information through stealing or other unlawful means and selling or otherwise unlawfully disclosing a citizen’s personal information obtained while performing duties or providing services. The PRC Civil Code, issued by the PRC National People’s Congress on May 28, 2020 and effective on January 1, 2021, provides legal basis for privacy and personal information infringement claims under the PRC civil laws. PRC regulators, including the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Ministry of Public Security, have increasingly focused on regulation in cybersecurity and data protection.

21

According to the PRC Cybersecurity Law and relevant regulations, network operators, including us, are obligated to provide assistance and support in accordance with the law for public security and national security authorities to protect national security or assist with criminal investigations. In addition, the PRC Cybersecurity Law provides that personal information and important data collected and generated by operators of critical information infrastructure in the course of their operations in the PRC should be stored in the PRC, and the law imposes heightened regulation and additional security obligations on operators of critical information infrastructure. Furthermore, according to the Cybersecurity Review Measures promulgated by the Cyberspace Administration of China and certain other PRC regulatory authorities in April 2020, which became effective in June 2020, operators of critical information infrastructure must pass a cybersecurity review when purchasing network products and services which do or may affect national security. On August 17, 2021, the State Council promulgated the Security Protection Regulations for Critical Information Infrastructures, which will take effect on September 1, 2021 and provides that “critical information infrastructures” refers to those including important network facilities and information systems involved in important industries and fields such as public communication and information services, energy, transportation, water conservancy, finance, public services, e-government, national defense related science and technology industry, and other important industries and those which may seriously endanger national security, national economy and people’s livelihood and public interests if they are damaged, malfunctioned, or if relevant data leakage occurs. Pursuant to these provisions, the competent governmental authorities and supervision and management departments of the abovementioned important industries and fields, being the protection departments, are responsible for formulating the rules on identifying the critical information infrastructures and to identify such critical information infrastructures in the related industries and fields, taking into account the factors including (i) the importance of the network facilities, information systems, etc., to the critical and core businesses in this industry and field; (ii) the degree of damage that may be caused by such network facilities, information systems, etc., if they are destroyed, malfunctioned, or relevant data leakage occurs; (iii) the relevant influence on other industries and fields. The relevant governmental authorities shall also notify operators who are being identified as critical information infrastructure operators. However, as these provisions were newly issued and the governmental authorities may further formulate detailed rules or explanations with respect to the interpretation and implementation of such provisions, the exact scope of “operator of critical information infrastructure” under the current regulatory regime remains unclear and may be subject to the review and discretion of the PRC governmental authorities. If we provide or are deemed to provide network products and services to critical information infrastructure operators, or we are deemed to be a critical information infrastructure operator, we would be required to follow cybersecurity review procedures, and could be subject to cybersecurity review by Cyberspace Administration of China and other relevant PRC regulatory authorities. During such review, we may be required to suspend new user registration in China and/or experience other disruptions of our operations, and such review could also result in negative publicity with respect to our Company and diversion of our managerial and financial resources. The PRC government is increasingly focused on data security, recently launching cybersecurity review against a number of mobile apps operated by several US-listed Chinese companies and prohibiting these apps from registering new users during the review period. On July 10, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a revised draft of the Cybersecurity Review Measures for public comments, which required that, in addition to “operator of critical information infrastructure”, any “data processor” carrying out data processing activities that affect or may affect national security should also be subject to the cybersecurity review, and further elaborated the factors to be considered when assessing the national security risks of the relevant activities, including among others, the risk of core data, important data or a large amount of personal information being stolen, leaked, destroyed, and illegally used or exited the country. As the revised draft Cybersecurity Review Measures have not been adopted and it remains unclear whether the formal version adopted in the future will have any further material changes, we still face uncertainties that the measures may be enacted, interpreted or implemented in ways that will negatively affect us. There can be no assurance that we would be able to complete the applicable cybersecurity review procedures in a timely manner, or at all, if we are required to follow such procedures. Any failure or delay in the completion of the cybersecurity review procedures may prevent us from using or providing certain network products and services, and may result in fines of up to ten times the purchase price of such network products and services being imposed upon us, if we are to be deemed a critical information infrastructure operator using network products or services without having completed the required cybersecurity review procedures. Furthermore, any non-compliance or perceived non-compliance with the PRC Cybersecurity Law, Cybersecurity Review Measures, or other related regulations may prevent us from using or providing certain network products and services, and may result in fines or other penalties such as making certain required rectification, suspending our related business, closing our website or taking down our operating app, and reputational damages or proceedings or actions against us by PRC regulatory authorities, consumers or others, which may have material adverse effect on our business, operation or financial conditions. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been involved in any investigations on cybersecurity review made by the Cyberspace Administration of China on such basis, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, or sanctions in such respect.

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On June 10, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, or the SCNPC, promulgated the PRC Data Security Law, which will take effect in September 2021. The PRC Data Security Law provides for data security and privacy obligations on entities and individuals carrying out data activities, introduces a data classification and hierarchical protection system based on the importance of data in economic and social development, as well as the degree of harm it will cause to national security, public interests, or legitimate rights and interests of individuals or organizations when such data is tampered with, destroyed, leaked, or illegally acquired or used, provides for a national security review procedure for those data activities which may affect national security and imposes export restrictions on certain data and information. In addition, recently, certain PRC regulatory authorities issued Opinions on Intensifying Crack Down on Illegal Securities Activities, which were available to the public on July 6, 2021 and further emphasized to strengthen the cross-board regulatory collaboration, to improve relevant laws and regulations on data security, cross-border data transmission, and confidential information management, and provided that efforts will be made to revise the regulations on strengthening the confidentiality and file management relating to the offering and listing of securities overseas, to implement the responsibility on information security of overseas listed companies, and to strengthen the standardized management of cross-border information provision mechanisms and procedures. However, as such law or opinions were newly issued, and there are no any further explanations or detailed rules or regulations, and there are still uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of such law or opinions. And new laws, regulations or rules promulgated in future may impose additional requirements on us.

As an open platform, we have access to certain personal and other sensitive data provided by our users and financial service providers. We also make certain personal information provided by users or third-party data providers available to financial service providers using our big data and system-based risk management services with user consent. Concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or security of personal information or other privacy-related matters, even if unfounded, could damage our reputation, cause us to lose users and customers and adversely affect our operating results. While we strive to comply with applicable data protection laws and regulations, as well as our own posted privacy policies and other obligations we may have with respect to privacy and data protection, the failure or perceived failure to comply may result, and in some cases has resulted, in inquiries and other proceedings or actions against us by government agencies or others, as well as negative publicity and damage to our reputation and brand, each of which could cause us to lose users and customers, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Any systems failure or compromise of our security that results in the unauthorized access to or release of our users’ or customers’ data could significantly limit the adoption of our products and services, as well as harm our reputation and brand and, therefore, our business. We strictly limit third-party developers’ unauthorized access to user privacy and user data, and we expend significant resources on technology and product development to protect against leakage of user information and other security breaches. Nonetheless, given its great commercial value, our user data may still be misused by third parties, which could expose us to legal and regulatory risks and seriously harm our business.

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There are numerous laws regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, disclosure and protection of personally identifiable information and data. Specifically, personally identifiable and other confidential information is increasingly subject to legislation and regulations in numerous domestic and international jurisdictions. PRC governmental authorities have enacted a series of laws and regulations relating to the protection of privacy and personal information, under which internet service providers and other network operators are required to clearly indicate the purposes, methods and scope of any information collection and usage, to obtain appropriate user consent and to establish user information protection systems with appropriate remedial measures. For example, on March 12, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly promulgated the Provisions on the Scope of Necessary Personal Information Required for Common Types of Mobile Internet Applications, which became effective on May 1, 2021, clarifying the scope of necessary information required for certain common mobile apps and stating that mobile apps operators may not deny users’ access to basic functions and services when the users opt out of the collection of unnecessary personal information. In addition, on August 20, 2021, the SCNPC promulgated the PRC Personal Information Protection Law, which will take effect from November 1, 2021. Pursuant to the PRC Personal Information Protection Law, “personal information” refers to the information related to an identified or identifiable individual recorded electronically or by other means, excluding the anonymized information, and processing of personal information includes among others, the collection, storage, use, handling, transmission, provision, disclosure, deletion of personal information. In addition to processing of personal information within the PRC, the PRC Personal Information Protection Law also applies to the process of personal information outside the PRC under any of the following circumstances: (i) where the purpose is to provide products or services to individuals within the PRC; (ii) when analyzing or assessing the activities of domestic individuals; or (iii) other circumstances as stipulated by laws and administrative regulations. This law sets forth both general rules for processing the personal information and specific rules for processing the personal information under certain specific circumstance, including the process of sensitive personal information and cross-border provision of personal information. As the PRC Personal Information Protection Law is newly issued, and there are no further explanations or detailed rules or regulations with respect to its interpretation and implementation, we still face uncertainties how this law may be interpreted or implemented in ways that will negatively affect us.

Furthermore, several PRC governmental authorities have taken a series of strict examinations and inspections against illegal activities of collecting or using data and personal information, and it was reported that numerous mobile applications or website operators were ordered to rectify their illegal activities, or imposed with warnings, fines or other administrative penalties, or even became subjects of criminal investigations. In July 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology identified us as one of many internet companies that had a few instances of improper collection or use of personal information either without prior user consent or with misleading or unclear user consent, and required us to rectify accordingly. We have taken necessary measures to rectify and improve our personal information and data protection system. We have developed a comprehensive user information protection policy, in which we lay out in detail the types of personal information we collect from users and the purposes, methods and scope of our collection, usage and handling of user personal information. We are continuously updating our policy as the purposes, methods and scope of our collection and handling of user personal information changes. Our user information protection policy and user agreement are displayed permanently in fixed locations on our mobile apps and websites so as to allow users to conveniently access and search such policies and agreements related to the collection and usage of their personal information on our app and website. We have also added pop-up notifications in our mobile app and website prompting our users to carefully read and agree to our user information protection policy whenever the user installs, opens up for the first time or registers an account on our mobile app or website. We are unable to collect any personal information from users unless the user voluntarily agrees to our user agreement and user information protection policy by checking the relevant boxes on our app or website. For certain functions of our platform where the collection and usage of additional personal information is necessary, we will clearly prompt the users as to the purposes, methods and scope of the collection and usage of the additional personal information. The user is then free to agree to or reject such collection and usage of additional personal information. Rejection of such collection and usage of additional personal information will not impact the use of other unrelated functionalities on our platform.

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The regulatory framework for cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection in China and worldwide is currently evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Operators like us are and may continue to be subject to more comprehensive and stricter supervision by the competent governmental authorities on such issues, especially given our collection and use of personal information by users or third-party data providers with user consent under our big data and system-based risk management service business. We cannot assure you that our existing personal information and data protection system and technical measures will be considered sufficient under applicable laws and regulations. We could be adversely affected if legislation or regulations in China are expanded to require changes in business practices or privacy policies, or if the PRC governmental authorities interpret or implement their legislation or regulations in ways that negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition to laws, regulations and other applicable rules regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection, industry groups or other private parties may propose new and different privacy standards. Because the interpretation and application of laws and privacy standards regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection are still uncertain, it is possible that these laws or privacy standards may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our practices. Any inability to adequately address privacy concerns, even if unfounded, or to comply with applicable laws, regulations and standards regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection, could result in additional cost and liability for us, damage our reputation, inhibit the use of our platform and harm our business.

PRC laws and regulations governing personal credit reporting businesses in China are still at an initial stage and subject to further change and interpretation. If we are deemed to engage in a personal credit reporting business and violate any PRC laws or regulations related to personal credit reporting businesses, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

The PRC government has adopted several regulations governing personal credit reporting businesses. According to the Administrative Regulations on the Credit Reporting Industry, which was promulgated by the State Council and became effective in 2013, “personal credit reporting business” means the activities of collecting, organizing, storing and processing “information related to the credit standing” of individuals as well as providing the information to others, and a “credit reporting agency” refers to a duly established agency whose primary business is credit reporting. These regulations, together with the Administrative Measures for Credit Reporting Agencies, which were promulgated by the People’s Bank of China and became effective in 2013, set forth qualification standards for entities conducting a credit reporting business in China, rules and requirements for credit reporting businesses and operating standards for credit reporting agencies. According to these regulations and measures, no entity may engage in personal credit reporting business without approval by the credit reporting industry regulatory department under the State Council. If any entity directly engages in personal credit reporting business without such approval, the entity is subject to penalties including suspension of business, confiscation of revenues related to personal credit reporting business, fines of RMB50,000 (US$7,663) to RMB500,000 (US$76,628) and criminal liabilities. In September 2021, the People’s Bank of China published the Administrative Measures on Credit Reporting Business, which will take effect from January 2022 and provides that “information related to credit standing” refers to analysis and evaluation information used to identify basic information, loan information, and other related information for determining the credit status of enterprises and individuals as well as other information formed based on the foregoing information collected according to laws and for the purpose of providing services for financial and other activities and “credit reporting business” refers to the activities of collecting, sorting, storing, and processing the credit information of enterprises and individuals, and providing such information to the users. Entities engaging in personal credit reporting business shall obtain the personal credit reporting business licenses from the People’s Bank of China in accordance with law.

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We organize, process and analyze information provided by users and data provided by financial service providers and third-party data partners. This information and data contains certain personal information of users, a portion of which we may provide to financial service providers using our big data and system-based risk management services and solutions. Due to the lack of further interpretations of the current regulations governing personal credit reporting businesses, and the fact that the Administrative Measures on Credit Reporting Business are newly promulgated, and there are still uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of these measures, the exact definition and scope of “information related to credit standing” and “personal credit reporting business” are still unclear. It is therefore uncertain whether we would be deemed to engage in personal credit reporting business because of our big data and system-based risk management services. As of the date of this annual report, we have not been subject to any material fines or other penalties under any PRC laws or regulations directly related to personal credit reporting business. However, given the evolving regulatory environment of the personal credit reporting industry, and the fact that the People’s Bank of China, the credit reporting industry regulatory department under the State Council, granted in February 2018 and December 2020, respectively, personal credit reporting businesses licenses to two entities incorporated under the guidance of the People’s Bank of China, we cannot assure you that we will not be required in the future by the relevant governmental authorities to obtain approval or license for personal credit reporting business in order to continue offering our big data and system-based risk management services. Our business may also become subject to other rules and requirements related to credit reporting business, or new rules and requirements (including approval or license regime) promulgated by the relevant authorities in the future. The existing and future rules and regulations may be costly to comply with, and we may not be able to obtain any required license or other regulatory approvals in a timely manner, or at all. If we are subject to penalties for any of the foregoing reasons, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We provide recommendation services for financial service providers, which may constitute provision of intermediary service, and our agreements with these financial service providers may be deemed as intermediation contracts under the PRC Civil Code.

Under the PRC Civil Code, if an intermediary conceals any material fact intentionally or provides false information in connection with the conclusion of a proposed transaction, which results in harm to a client’s interests, the intermediary may not claim for service fees and is liable for any damages caused. We provide recommendation services for financial service providers, which may constitute provision of intermediary service, and our agreements with these financial service providers may be deemed as intermediation contracts under the PRC Civil Code, as a consequence, if we intentionally conceal material information or provide false information to financial service providers, or if we fail to identify false information received from users or any third party and in turn provide such information to financial service providers, we could be held liable for damages caused to financial service providers as an intermediary pursuant to the PRC Civil Code. On the other hand, we should not assume any liability relating to possible disputes between financial service providers and users with respect to the financial products provided by the financial service providers to the users, solely on the basis of providing recommendations regarding such financial products, as long as we do not intentionally conceal any material fact or provide false information, and are not found at fault. However, due to the lack of detailed regulations and guidance in the area of financial product recommendation services and the possibility that the PRC government authorities may promulgate new laws and regulations regulating financial product recommendation services in the future, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future PRC laws and regulations for financial product recommendation services, and there can be no assurance that the PRC government authority will share our views.

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If any financial product on our platform or the business practice of us or any of our financial service providers is deemed to violate any new or existing PRC laws or regulations, our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Financial products and the businesses of our financial service providers are regulated in China. We may be indirectly subject to PRC financial regulations as a result of the financial products on our platform and our services to and cooperation with financial service providers. On December 1, 2017, the Internet Finance Rectification Office and the Online Lending Rectification Office jointly issued the Notice on Regulating and Rectifying “Cash Loan” Business, or the Circular 141, and on December 8, 2017, the Online Lending Rectification Office issued the Notice on the Rectification and Inspection Acceptance of Risk of Online Lending Intermediaries, or the Circular 57, both of which outlined more specific requirements on financial service providers. In addition, in March 2018, the Internet Finance Rectification Office issued the Notice on Strengthening the Rectification of Asset Management through the Internet and Carrying on the Inspection and Acceptance, or the Circular 29, which outlines more strict and specific requirements on the practices of asset management business (including wealth management plan) through the Internet, such as requirement on obtaining necessary licenses, prohibition of the sale on an agency basis or provision of sale agency service in any disguised form, by any Internet platform of any asset management products provided by any financial asset exchange which is not in full compliance with applicable laws. If any financial product on our platform is deemed to violate any PRC laws or regulations, we may be liable for listing the product or assisting in offering the product on our platform, even if we are not its provider.

In September 2019, the General Office of the CBIRC, issued the Notice on Addressing Banking and Insurance Institutions’ Irregularities against Consumer Rights and Interests, or the CBIRC Notice 194, according to which banks shall explicitly require that their third-party cooperation partners shall stop misleading sales, inappropriate collection activities, or forcible tie-in sales, and shall not double-charge financial institutions and consumers for the same service or illegally access the personal information of customers. Furthermore, in July 2020, the CBIRC promulgated the Interim Measures for Administration of the Internet Loan by Commercial Banks, or the Internet Loan Interim Measures, according to which banks shall meet relevant management requirements related to risk system management, risk data and model management, information technology risk management and loan management in their cooperation with third-party cooperation partners on internet loan business, and if banks recommend Internet loan products to the target customers through third-party cooperation partners, banks are required to sufficiently disclose the lender, actual annual interest rate, annualized comprehensive capital cost, arrangement for repayment of principal and interest and other information in obvious positions to safeguard the rights of customers to be informed and to make choice on their own, and shall not deprive the consumers of their rights to express their wishes by means of check by default, forced bundling or others. Some of the financial service providers on our platform are banks. If our cooperation with any of these banks fails to strictly comply with the CBIRC Notice 194, the Internet Loan Interim Measures, or other applicable laws, the banks may not be allowed to continue their cooperation with us and consequently our business, financial condition and prospects may be materially and adversely affected. If any of our financial service providers is deemed to violate any PRC laws or regulations, we may be jointly liable due to the services or solutions we provide. We may have to remove financial products from our platform or terminate relationship with financial service providers. Although we have implemented internal control procedures reviewing and examining the products on our platform to ensure their compliance with relevant provisions, as we have limited control over the financial products and the services provided by financial service providers, if any financial product on our platform is deemed to violate any laws, rules or regulations, we may face, among others, regulatory warnings, correction orders, condemnation, fines and criminal liability. As a result, our business, reputation, financial performance and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

For instance, in March 2019, it was reported that certain financial products offered by third-party financial service providers on our platform contained inappropriate conducts, which were suspected of the infringement of consumer rights. In response to such report, we have taken immediate measures to rectify and improve our monitoring and supervision of financial service providers and our user protection on our platform. See “—We have limited control over the product and service quality of our financial service providers.” Although we implement stringent standards to screen financial service providers before listing their products on our platform, we cannot rule out the possibility that the quality of the financial products and the services provided by financial service providers are not in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations at all times and similar negative reports about the financial products or services offered by third-party financial service providers on our platform may happen again in the future, which could materially and adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

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We rely on the accuracy and timeliness of data provided by third parties.

As an open platform, we have access to data from users, financial service providers and third-party data partners. We synthesize these multiple sources of data with our data modeling and analytics capability, which drives our product recommendation engine. The information on borrower credit risk available in China may be incomplete or unreliable. The People’s Bank of China has developed and put into use a national personal and corporate credit information database which remains relatively underdeveloped. The information available to us, financial service providers and third-party data partners is limited. We cannot ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the various sources of data that we use. Low quality and inaccurate data could materially affect the accuracy and validity of our matching capability, services and solutions, which could adversely affect our reputation and financial performance.

We may not be able to detect or prevent misconduct committed by our employees or third parties.

Misconduct by our employees, such as unauthorized business transactions, bribery, corruption and breach of our internal policies and procedures, or by consultants or other third parties, such as breach of law, may be difficult to detect or prevent. It could subject us to financial loss and sanctions imposed by governmental authorities while seriously damaging our reputation. This may also impair our ability to effectively attract prospective users, develop customer loyalty, obtain financing on favorable terms and conduct other business activities. Our risk management systems, information technology systems and internal control procedures are designed to monitor our operations and overall compliance. However, there can be no assurance we will be able to identify non-compliance or illegal activities promptly, or at all.

Historically we have identified certain incidents of employee and third-party misconduct, in response to which we have undertaken internal review and remedial measures. See “—Risks Related to Our Audit Committee Independent Review, Restatement of Our Consolidated Financial Statements, Internal Controls and Related Matters—We completed an audit committee independent review in the first half of 2021, which required significant management time and attention, resulted in significant legel and other expenses, and led to the termination of a number of employees.

Fraudulent activity conducted through our platform or using the brand name of RONG360 could negatively impact our brand and reputation and cause the use of our platform to decrease.

We are subject to fraudulent activity on our platform or being perpetrated purportedly in the brand name of RONG360, sometimes through sophisticated schemes or collusion. Certain of our own employees may be corrupted and participate in fraudulent or otherwise illegal activities. Our resources, technologies, fraud detection tools and risk management system may be insufficient to accurately detect and timely prevent fraud and misconduct. For instance, it was found in 2020 that certain third parties were using telephone or social network communications to scam our users into wiring deposits or service fees by posing as RONG360 customer service or to trick users into scanning and downloading a counterfeit version of our RONG360 app, both of which may have imposed negative impact on our brand and reputation. Significant increases in fraudulent activity could negatively impact our brand and reputation, result in losses suffered by users and financial service providers, and reduce user access to and user activity on our platform. We may need to adopt additional measures to prevent and reduce fraud, which could increase our costs. We anticipate that we will continue to be subject to claims on the fraudulent activity being perpetrated purportedly in the brand name of RONG360, and may incur extra costs and expenses as a result. High profile fraudulent activity could even lead to regulatory intervention, and may divert our management’s attention and cause us to incur additional expenses and costs. If any of the foregoing were to occur, our reputation and financial performance could be materially and adversely affected.

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If we fail to effectively manage our growth, our business and operating results could be harmed.

As we continue to commit to managing and growing our business, significant demands will continue to be placed on our management, operational and financial resources. We may encounter difficulties as we expand our operations, data and technology, sales and marketing, and general and administrative functions. We expect our expenses to continue to increase in the future as we acquire more users, launch new technology development projects and build additional technology infrastructure. Continued growth could also strain our ability to maintain the quality and reliability of our platform and services, develop and improve our operational, financial, legal and management controls, and enhance our reporting systems and procedures. Our expenses may grow faster than our revenues, and our expenses may be greater than we anticipate. We may expand into new product categories with which we lack familiarity and relevant user data related to these products, making it more difficult for us to anticipate user demand and preferences and manage product and related financial service provider quality. We may also expand into new geographic areas where we do not have experience with local regulations or regulators or where local market conditions are unfavorable for our business model. Managing our growth will require significant expenditures and allocation of valuable management resources. If we fail to achieve the necessary level of efficiency in our organization as it grows, our business, operating results and financial condition could be harmed.

Our business depends on the continued efforts of our senior management. If one or more of our key executives were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, our business may be severely disrupted.

Our business operations depend on the continued services of our senior management, particularly our co-founders and the executive officers named in this annual report. While we have provided different incentives to our management, we cannot assure you that we can continue to retain their services. If one or more of our key executives were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we may not be able to find suitable replacements, our future growth may be constrained, our business may be severely disrupted and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, although we have entered into confidentiality and non-competition agreements with our management, there is no assurance that any member of our management team will not join our competitors or form a competing business. If any dispute arises between our current or former officers and us, we may have to incur substantial costs and expenses in order to enforce such agreements in China or we may not be able to enforce them at all.

We may not be able to attract and retain the qualified and skilled employees needed to support our business.

We believe our future success depends on our continued ability to attract, develop, motivate and retain qualified and skilled employees. Competition for highly skilled sales and marketing, technical, risk management and financial personnel is extremely intense in China. We may not be able to hire and retain these personnel at compensation levels consistent with our existing compensation and salary structure. Some of the companies with which we compete for experienced employees have greater resources than we have and may be able to offer more attractive terms of employment. In addition, we invest significant time and resources in training our employees, which increases their value to competitors who may seek to recruit them. If we fail to retain our employees, we could incur significant expenses in hiring and training new employees, and our ability to serve users and financial service providers could diminish, resulting in a material adverse effect to our business.

Any negative publicity with respect to us, our financial service providers or the industry in which we operate may materially and adversely affect our reputation, brand, business and results of operations.

Our brand and reputation are critical to our business and competitiveness. We operate our platform using the “RONG360” brand and tradename in China. Factors that are vital to our reputation include but are not limited to our ability to:

effectively match users with financial service providers;
provide timely and accurate content on our platform;
provide superior user experience on our platform;
innovate and improve the services and solutions we provide to financial service providers;

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effectively manage and resolve complaints from users and financial service providers; and
effectively protect personal information and data.

Any negative publicity about the foregoing or other aspects of our company, including but not limited to our brand, management, business, legal compliance, financial condition or prospects, whether with merit or not, could severely compromise our reputation and harm our business and operating results. In addition, negative publicity with respect to our financial service providers or the industry in which we operate may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. For instance, in March 2019, it was reported that certain financial products offered by third-party financial service providers on our platform contained inappropriate conducts, which were suspected of the infringement of consumer rights. See “—We have limited control over the product and service quality of our financial service providers.” Although we promptly responded to the negative media exposure to address user concerns and have taken immediate measures to rectify and improve our monitoring and supervision of financial service providers and our user protection on our platform, the media exposure had an immediate adverse impact on our reputation and the “RONG360” brand, which in turn may have adversely affected our business and results of operations. In addition, in June 2019, we received a fine of RMB700,000 from the Beijing Administration for Market Regulation for a piece of advertisement placed on our platform by one of our third-party financial service providers due to the advertisement’s failure to provide the appropriate risk warning labels associated with predicted financial returns listed in its content. Furthermore, in July 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology identified us as one of many internet companies that had instances of improper collection or use of personal information either without prior user consent or with misleading or unclear user consent, and required us to rectify accordingly. We have taken necessary measures to rectify and improve our personal information and data protection system. These incidents attracted negative publicity with respect to our reputation and the “RONG360” brand. Such negative publicity may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our future growth depends on the further acceptance of the internet and particularly the mobile internet as an effective platform for disseminating financial products and content.

The internet, and particularly the mobile internet, has gained increased popularity in China as a platform for financial products and content in recent years. However, certain lenders, especially traditional financial institutions, and many users have limited experience in handling financial products and content online, and some users may have reservations about using online platforms. For example, users may not find online content to be reliable sources of financial product information. Some financial service providers may not believe online platforms are secure for risk assessment and credit management. Others may not find online platforms effective when promoting and providing their products and services, especially to targeted customers in lower-tier cities or rural areas. If we fail to educate users and financial service providers about the value of our platform and our services and solutions, our growth will be limited and our business, financial performance and prospects may be materially and adversely affected. The further acceptance of the internet and particularly the mobile internet as an effective and efficient platform for financial products and content is also affected by factors beyond our control, including negative publicity around online and mobile consumer finance and restrictive regulatory measures taken by the PRC government. If online and mobile networks do not achieve adequate acceptance in the market, our growth prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.

Our platform and internal systems rely on software that is highly technical, and if it contains undetected errors, our business could be adversely affected.

Our platform and internal systems rely on software that is highly technical and complex. In addition, our platform and internal systems depend on the ability of the software to store, retrieve, process and manage immense amounts of data. The software on which we rely has contained, and may now or in the future contain, undetected errors or bugs. Some errors may only be discovered after the code has been released for external or internal use. Errors or other design defects within the software on which we rely may result in a negative experience for users and financial service providers, delay introductions of new features or enhancements, result in errors or compromise our ability to protect data or our intellectual property. Any errors, bugs or defects discovered in the software on which we rely could result in harm to our reputation, loss of users or financial service providers or liability for damages, any of which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial conditions.

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Our operations depend on the performance of the internet infrastructure and telecommunications networks in China.

Almost all access to the internet in China is maintained through state-owned telecommunication operators under the administrative control and regulatory supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. We primarily rely on a limited number of telecommunication service providers to provide us with data communications capacity through local telecommunications lines and internet data centers to host our servers. We have limited access to alternative networks or services in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with China’s internet infrastructure or the fixed telecommunications networks provided by telecommunication service providers. With the expansion of our business, we may be required to upgrade our technology and infrastructure to keep up with the increasing traffic on our platform. We cannot assure you that the internet infrastructure and the fixed telecommunications networks in China will be able to support the demands associated with the continued growth in internet usage.

In addition, we have no control over the costs of the services provided by telecommunication service providers. If the prices we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our financial performance may be adversely affected. Furthermore, if internet access fees or other charges to internet users increase, our user traffic may decline and our business may be harmed.

Any significant disruption in service on our platform or in our computer systems, including events beyond our control, could reduce the attractiveness of our platform and solutions and result in a loss of users or financial service providers.

In the event of a platform outage and physical data loss, the performance of our platform and solutions would be materially and adversely affected. The satisfactory performance, reliability and availability of our platform, solutions and underlying technology infrastructure are critical to our operations and reputation and our ability to retain existing and attract new users and financial service providers. Our system hardware is hosted in a leased facility located in Beijing that is operated by our IT staff. We also maintain a real-time backup system in the same facility and a remote backup system at a separate facility also located in Beijing. Our operations depend on our ability to protect our systems against damage or interruption from natural disasters, power or telecommunications failures, air quality issues, environmental conditions, computer viruses or attempts to harm our systems, criminal acts and similar events. If there is a lapse in service or damage to our leased facilities in Beijing, we could experience interruptions and delays in our service and may incur additional expense in arranging new facilities.

Any interruptions or delays in the availability of our platform or solutions, whether as a result of third-party or our error, natural disasters or security breaches, whether accidental or willful, could harm our reputation and our relationships with users and financial service providers. Additionally, in the event of damage or interruption, our insurance policies may not adequately compensate us for any losses that we may incur. Although we conduct regular troubleshooting exercises and disaster recovery drills, our disaster recovery plan has not been tested under actual disaster conditions, and we may not have sufficient capacity to recover all data and services in the event of an outage. These factors could damage our brand and reputation, divert our employees’ attention and subject us to liability, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Any breaches to our security measures, including unauthorized access, computer viruses and hacking, may adversely affect our database, reduce use of our services and damage our reputation and brand names.

The massive volume of data that we process and store makes us or third-party service providers who host our servers an attractive target and potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, computer viruses, physical or electronic break-ins or similar disruptions. While we have taken steps to protect our database, our security measures could be breached. Because techniques used to sabotage or obtain unauthorized access to systems change frequently and generally are not recognized until they are launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Any accidental or willful security breaches or other unauthorized access to our platform could cause confidential information to be stolen and used for criminal purposes. Security breaches or unauthorized access to confidential information could also expose us to liability related to the loss of the information, time-consuming and expensive litigation and negative publicity. If security measures are breached because of third-party action, employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, or if design flaws in our technology infrastructure are exposed and exploited, our relationships with users and financial service providers could be severely damaged, we could incur significant liability and our business and operations could be adversely affected. The PRC Cybersecurity Law, effective on June 1, 2017, stipulates that a network operator, including internet information services providers among others, must adopt technical measures and other necessary measures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations as well as compulsory national and industrial standards to safeguard the safety and stability of network operations, effectively respond to network security incidents, prevent illegal and criminal activities, and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of network data. While we have adopted comprehensive measures to comply with the applicable laws, regulations and standards, there can be no assurance that such measures will be effective. If we were found by the regulatory authorities to have failed to comply with the PRC Cybersecurity Law, we would be subject to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancellation of filings, shutdown of our platform or even criminal liability and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

We may not be able to prevent others from making unauthorized use of our intellectual property.

We regard our software registrations, trademarks, domain names, know-how, proprietary technologies and similar intellectual property as critical to our success, and we rely on a combination of intellectual property laws and contractual arrangements, including confidentiality and non-compete agreements with our employees and others to protect our proprietary rights. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Intellectual Property.” Despite these measures, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or misappropriated, or such intellectual property may not be sufficient to provide us with competitive advantages. In addition, there can be no assurance that (i) our application for the registration of trademarks and other intellectual property rights will be approved, (ii) any intellectual property rights will be adequately protected, or (iii) such intellectual property rights will not be challenged by third parties or found by a judicial authority to be invalid or unenforceable. For instance, we are using and will continue to use, or may need to use in the future, certain trademarks including the logo and character of “ 360” for our current and future business operations. The registration applications in the PRC of such trademarks under category 36 (finance related) and category 42 (internet and computer related) were rejected by the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and were further rejected by the Trademark Review Committee (the “Review Committee”). We initiated administrative litigations thereafter against the Review Committee with respect to the aforesaid rejections of our trademark registration applications. We prevailed in one of these administrative litigations, but Beijing Qihoo Technology Co., Ltd., or Qihoo Technology, filed an appeal to the decision as a third-party. We lost the other three administrative litigations and have appealed these decisions. In June 2021, we reached a settlement agreement with Qihoo Technology that both parties agreed to waive all procedural and substantial rights annexed to the controversial trademarks registered under the name of the counterparty, and agreed to withdraw the aforementioned lawsuits relating to such trademarks accordingly. Qihoo Technology agreed not to initiate any objection to our relevant registered trademarks including “RONG360” and “Graphic” under category 36 and mobile apps, and we agreed not to raise any objection or bring any challenge against Qihoo Technology for its registration and use of the relevant 360 brand trademarks under category 36 and consent to the permanent coexistence of such trademarks with ours. There can be no assurance that we will successfully prevail or defend ourselves or reach a settlement to our satisfactory in other similar lawsuits or disputes in the future. In addition, as our business develops and expands, we may need to register other trademarks or intellectual property rights. If these trademarks or other intellectual property rights could not be registered, we may fail to prevent others from using these marks or other intellectual property rights, and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. Furthermore, because of the rapid pace of technological change in our industry, parts of our business rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties, and we may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties on reasonable terms, or at all.

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It is often difficult to register, maintain and enforce intellectual property rights in China. Statutory laws and regulations are subject to judicial interpretation and enforcement and may not be applied consistently due to the lack of clear guidance on statutory interpretation. Confidentiality, invention assignment and non-compete agreements may be breached by counterparties, and there may not be adequate remedies available to us for any such breach. Accordingly, we may not be able to effectively protect our intellectual property rights or to enforce our contractual rights in China. Preventing any unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly and the steps we take may be inadequate to prevent the misappropriation of our intellectual property. In the event that we resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, such litigation could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our managerial and financial resources. We can provide no assurance that we will prevail in such litigation. In addition, our trade secrets may be leaked or otherwise become available to, or be independently discovered by, our competitors. To the extent that our employees or consultants use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related know-how and inventions. Any failure in protecting or enforcing our intellectual property rights could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may be expensive to defend and may disrupt our business and operations.

We cannot be certain that our operations or any aspects of our business do not or will not infringe upon or otherwise violate trademarks, patents, copyrights, know-how or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We may be from time to time subject to legal proceedings and claims relating to the intellectual property rights of others. In addition, there may be third-party trademarks, patents, copyrights, know-how or other intellectual property rights that are infringed by our products, services or other aspects of our business without our awareness. Holders of such intellectual property rights may seek to enforce such intellectual property rights against us in China, the United States or other jurisdictions. For instance, in April 2019, Qihoo Technology filed a lawsuit in a court in Beijing against our PRC subsidiary and a related party alleging that our use of RONG360 brand and tradename infringes upon its 360 trademark and constitutes unfair competition, and seeking various remedies from us. In June 2021, we reached a settlement agreement with Qihoo Technology, pursuant to which Qihoo Technology agreed to withdraw the lawsuit against us, waive all procedural and substantial rights annexed to the controversial trademarks registered by us, and agreed not to initiate any objection to our relevant registered trademarks including “RONG360” and “Graphic” under category 36 and mobile apps. However, there can be no assurance that we will successfully prevail or defend ourselves or reach a settlement to our satisfactory in other similar lawsuits or disputes in the future. For any third-party infringement claims brought against us, we may be forced to divert management’s time and other resources from our business and operations to defend against these claims, regardless of their merits.

Additionally, the application and interpretation of China’s intellectual property right laws and the procedures and standards for granting trademarks, patents, copyrights, know-how or other intellectual property rights in China are still evolving and are uncertain, and we cannot assure you that PRC courts or regulatory authorities would agree with our analysis. If we were found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be subject to liability for our infringement activities or may be prohibited from using such intellectual property, and we may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives of our own. As a result, our business and financial performance may be materially and adversely affected.

We face risks associated with the Restructuring and the digital lending business operated by RONG360.

On July 31, 2018, RONG360 completed the share distribution of our ordinary shares held by it to the existing shareholders of RONG360 in proportion to RONG360’s shareholding structure, and thus completed the Restructuring to strengthen our positioning as an independent open platform. For more details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” If we were unable to enhance the quality of our platform after the Restructuring, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

RONG360 Inc. and its subsidiaries historically operated both our current business and a digital lending business. After all business operations previously operated by RONG360 prior to the Restructuring except for the digital lending business were transferred to us as part of the Restructuring, we operate our business under the “Rong360” brand, whereas the digital lending business is operated by RONG360 under a separate brand. However, the digital lending business may be perceived to be a part of our business, which could subject us to reputational and regulatory risks. Any negative developments with respect to the digital lending business and RONG360 may materially and adversely affect our business and brand.

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Although the credit decisioning and risk management model of the digital lending business is separate and independent from the credit decisioning and risk management solutions of our business, if our users or financial service providers believe otherwise, they may lose confidence in our data analytical capabilities. The digital lending business is expected to be a financial service provider on our platform under an information service cooperation agreement on terms and conditions similar to those we have with third-party financial service providers. In addition, the digital lending business will receive operational, administrative, human resources, legal, accounting and internal control support from us through a transitional services agreement for twelve months, and the effective period has already been extended by mutual consent. If our arrangements with the digital lending business or RONG360 are perceived by users or other financial service providers to be not on commercially reasonable terms, our reputation as an independent open platform may be damaged and our business and results of operations may be adversely affected. Furthermore, although RONG360 is expected to have its own separate senior management team, certain of our directors and executive officers may continue to provide advisory and other services to RONG360. These relationships could create, or appear to create, conflicts of interest when these persons are faced with decisions with potentially different implications for us and the digital lending business. Business opportunities may arise that both we and RONG360 find attractive, and which would complement our respective businesses. The digital lending business may wish to take the opportunities itself, which would hinder us from taking advantage of those opportunities. In addition, we may compete with the digital lending business in the hiring of new employees, in particular with respect to credit decisioning and risk management related matters. We may not be able to resolve any potential conflicts which may have material adverse effect on our business.

We may be subject to liability associated with the advertisements on our platform.

As we generate a small portion of our revenues by providing advertising services to financial service providers, we are required to establish and continually improve a management system for such internet advertising activities. We are required to examine, review, verify and register the names, addresses and other valid contact and identity information of those who choose to place their advertisements on our platform on a regular basis. We must establish archives for the registration and verify and update the archives on a regular basis. Prior to publishing any advertisement, we are required to review its content against the relevant advertising certificate and ensure the content matches the certificate. Furthermore, we must have personnel who are familiar with advertising regulations to review the advertisements. While we have a review procedure prior to publishing, we cannot guarantee that we can entirely eliminate advertisements with content that would be deemed inappropriate or misleading. If we are deemed to be in violation of PRC law or regulations on advertising, we may be subject to penalties, including suspension of publishing, confiscation of the revenues related to these advertisements, levying of fines and suspension or termination of our advertising service, any of which may adversely affect our business. For instance, in June 2019, we received a fine of RMB700,000 from the Beijing Administration for Market Regulation for a piece of advertisement placed on our platform by one of our third-party financial service providers due to the advertisement’s failure to provide the appropriate risk warning labels associated with predicted financial returns listed in its content. Advertisements, which are not otherwise misleading, could be perceived as affecting the unbiased search results by our users and financial service providers. As a result, trust in our platform may decline and users may stop using our platform.

We may be held liable for information or content displayed on, retrieved from or linked to our platform, which may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

The PRC government has adopted regulations governing internet access and distribution of information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet content that, among other things, violates PRC laws and regulations, impairs the national dignity of China, contains terrorism, extremism, content of force or brutality, or is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the revocation of licenses to provide internet content and other licenses, the closure of the concerned websites and criminal liabilities. In the past, failure to comply with these requirements has resulted in the closure of certain websites. The website operator may also be held liable for the censored information displayed on or linked to the website.

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In particular, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has published regulations that subject website operators to potential liability for content displayed on their websites and the actions of users and others using their systems, including liability for violations of PRC laws and regulations prohibiting the dissemination of content deemed to be socially destabilizing. The Ministry of Public Security has the authority to order any local internet service provider to block any internet website at its sole discretion. From time to time, the Ministry of Public Security has stopped the dissemination over the internet of information which it believes to be socially destabilizing. The State Secrecy Bureau is also authorized to block any website it deems to be leaking state secrets or failing to meet the relevant regulations relating to the protection of state secrets in the dissemination of online information. Furthermore, we are required to report any suspicious content to relevant governmental authorities, and to undergo computer security inspections. If we fail to implement the relevant safeguards against security breaches, our websites may be shut down and our business and ICP licenses may be revoked.

According to the Administrative Provisions on Mobile Internet Applications Information Services which was promulgated by the Cyberspace Administration of China and became effective in August 2016, providers of mobile apps may not create, copy, publish or distribute information and content that is prohibited by laws and regulations. We are required to adopt and implement management systems of information security and establish and improve procedures on content examination and administration. We must adopt such measures as warning, restricted release, suspension of updates and close of accounts, keep relevant records, and report unlawful content to competent government authorities. We have implemented internal control procedures screening the information and content on our mobile apps to ensure their compliance with these provisions. However, there can be no assurance that all the information or content displayed on, retrieved from or linked to our mobile apps complies with the requirements of the provisions at all times. If our mobile apps were found to violate the provisions, we may be subject to administrative penalties, including warning, service suspension or removal of our mobile apps from the relevant mobile app store, which may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

In addition, the Administrative Measures for Financial Information Services, effective on February 1, 2019, set forth that the financial information service providers shall not produce, copy, publish or spread information that contains any of the following contents: (i) false financial information endangering national financial security or social stability, (ii) distorting national fiscal and monetary policies or financial management policies disrupting the economic orders or damaging national interests, (iii) instigating any other person to commit commercial fraud or economic crime causing any social impact, (iv) fabricating any event or news on the securities, funds, futures, foreign exchange and other financial markets, (v) publicizing financial products and services prohibited by the competent departments, and (vi) any other content prohibited by laws, regulations or rules. Furthermore, financial information service providers are required to formulate internal service standards including the content review standard. Due to the lack of detailed interpretations of such measures, there is still uncertainty as to whether we shall be deemed as financial information service provider regulated by such measures. On December 15, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China promulgated the Provisions on Ecological Governance of Network Information Content, or the Network Ecological Governance Provisions, which took effect on March 1, 2020. The Network Ecological Governance Provisions provide the requirements for the content producers of the network information, the service platforms for the network information and the users of the network information. Among others, the Network Ecological Governance Provisions classify the network information into the “encouraged category”, the “prohibited category” and the “prevented and resisted category”. The content producers of network information are encouraged to produce, copy and publish network information in the encouraged category, prohibited from producing, copying or publishing network information in the prohibited category, and shall take measures to prevent and resist the production, reproduction and publication of undesirable information in the prevented and resisted category. In addition, the service platforms for the network information shall strengthen the management of information content, and upon discovery of any prohibited information or prevented and resisted information, shall immediately take measures in accordance with the laws, keep the relevant records, and report the same to the competent governmental authorities. A service platform for network information shall compile an annual report on the ecological governance of network information, which contains information on the ecological governance of network information, the performance of the person in charge of ecological governance of network information and social evaluation, etc. We have proactively implemented internal control policy screening the information and content on our website and mobile apps to ensure their compliance with the provisions of the Administrative Measures for Financial Information Services and the Network Ecological Governance Provisions. However, there can be no assurance that all the information or content displayed on, retrieved from or linked to our website and mobile apps complies with the requirements of the provisions at all times. If we were deemed as violating the requirements under the Administrative Measures for Financial Information Services, the Network Ecological Governance Provisions or other applicable laws and regulations, we may be subject to inquiries, public condemnation, rectification, or brought into the blacklist for the dishonest, or even subject to administrative penalties or criminal liabilities.

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We may also become involved in legal disputes with third parties that disagree with the content on our platform. For example, a financial service provider that received a low rating from our reports filed a lawsuit claiming that we engaged in unfair competition. While this lawsuit was dismissed by the court and subsequently withdrawn by the plaintiff, there can be no assurance that we will successfully defend ourselves against similar lawsuits in the future. In addition, such lawsuits could result in substantial cost and a diversion of our managerial and financial resources.

We have limited insurance coverage which could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.

The insurance industry in China is still in an early stage of development, and insurance companies in China currently offer limited business-related insurance products. We do not maintain business interruption insurance or general third-party liability insurance, nor do we maintain property insurance or product liability insurance. We consider our insurance coverage to be reasonable in light of the nature of our business and the insurance products that are available in China and in line with the practices of other companies in the same industry of similar size in China, but we cannot assure you that our insurance coverage is sufficient to prevent us from any loss or that we will be able to successfully claim our losses under our current insurance policies on a timely basis, or at all. If we incur any loss that is not covered by our insurance policies, or the compensated amount is significantly less than our actual loss, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Current and future investments in and acquisitions of assets, technologies and businesses may fail and may result in equity and earnings dilution and significant diversion of management attention.

We have and may further invest in or acquire assets, technologies and businesses that are complementary to our existing business. This may include opportunities to expand our service offerings and strengthen our technology infrastructure and data analytical capabilities. Our investments or acquisitions may not yield the results we expect. In addition, investments and acquisitions could result in the use of substantial amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, significant amortization expenses related to intangible assets, significant diversion of management attention and exposure to potential unknown liabilities of the acquired business. Moreover, the cost of identifying and consummating investments and acquisitions, and integrating the acquired businesses into ours, may be significant, and the integration of acquired businesses may be disruptive to our existing business operations. In the event that our investments and acquisitions are not successful, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. For example, in September 2019, the business of Databook was suspended and an investigation was conducted against Databook and certain of its employees by competent authorities in relation to the compliance of information collection or use. In relation to the business suspension of Databook, we recorded a full impairment for goodwill, intangible assets and an impairment for other assets attributable to the Databook, totaling RMB254.7 million as of December 31, 2019. The investigation has concluded in January 2021. Databook was imposed confiscation of gains of RMB30.0 million and a fine of RMB30.0 million, total amount of RMB60.0 million was paid in January 2021, and we accrued current income tax expenses of RMB10.0 million in 2019. Certain employees of Databook have been charged with criminal liabilities; other than Databook, neither our company nor our directors or officers were involved. In addition, certain entities that we and one of our VIEs acquired to support our business growth in China and overseas were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their actual financial performance in 2020 were significantly below the forecasts at acquisition, and development of these business were expected to slow down, as a result, we recorded an impairment for goodwill of RMB12.6 million in 2020 attributable to such entities. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial performance of these entities may continue in the future. See “—We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.”

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We may face challenges in expanding our business and operations internationally and our ability to conduct business in international markets may be adversely affected by legal, regulatory, political and economic risks.

We face challenges and risks associated with expanding our business and operations globally into new geographic markets. New geographic markets may have competitive conditions, user preferences, and discretionary spending patterns that are more difficult to predict or satisfy than our existing markets. In certain markets, we have relatively little operating experience and may not benefit from any first-to-market advantages or otherwise succeed. We may also face protectionist policies that could, among other things, hinder our ability to execute our business strategies and put us at a competitive disadvantage relative to domestic companies. Local companies may have a substantial competitive advantage because of their greater understanding of, and focus on, the local users, as well as their more established local brand names, requiring us to build brand awareness in that market through greater investments in advertising and promotional activity. International expansion may also require significant capital investment, which could strain our resources and adversely impact current performance, while adding complexity to our current operations. We are subject to PRC law in addition to the laws of the foreign countries in which we operate. If any of our overseas operations, or our associates or agents, violate such laws, we could become subject to sanctions or other penalties, which could negatively affect our reputation, business and operating results.

In addition, we may face operational issues that could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business and results of operations, if we fail to address certain factors including, but not limited to, the following:

lack of acceptance of our platform, and challenges of localizing our offerings to appeal to local tastes;
failure to attract and retain capable talent with international perspectives who can effectively manage and operate local businesses;
challenges in identifying appropriate local business partners and establishing and maintaining good working relationships with them;
availability, reliability and security of international payment systems and logistics infrastructure;
challenges of maintaining efficient and consolidated internal systems, including technology infrastructure, and of achieving customization and integration of these systems with the other parts of our technology platform;
challenges in replicating or adapting our company policies and procedures to operating environments different from that of China;
national security policies that restrict our ability to utilize technologies that are deemed by local governmental regulators to pose a threat to their national security;
the need for increased resources to manage regulatory compliance across our international businesses;
compliance with privacy laws and data security laws and compliance costs across different legal systems;
heightened restrictions and barriers on the transfer of data between different jurisdictions;
differing, complex and potentially adverse customs, import/export laws, tax rules and regulations or other trade barriers or restrictions related compliance obligations and consequences of non-compliance, and any new developments in these areas;
business licensing or certification requirements of the local markets;
exchange rate fluctuations; and

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political instability and general economic or political conditions in particular countries or regions, including territorial or trade disputes, war and terrorism.

Failure to manage these risks and challenges could negatively affect our ability to expand our business and operations overseas as well as materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our expansions into new businesses and new service offerings may expose us to new challenges and more risks and, if such new businesses and new service offerings are not successful, our future results of operations and growth prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

As part of our growth strategy, we may enter into new businesses or expand the variety of services offered on our platform from time to time by leveraging our large user base and our technology-driven open platform to generate additional revenue streams and through our development of new business or service offerings. Expansions into new businesses or service offerings may present operating, marketing and compliance risks and challenges that differ from those that we currently encounter. For instance, in the fourth quarter of 2019, we introduced insurance products to our platform after completing the acquisition of an insurance brokerage company in China. As the implementation of our business strategies, as well as the development of new businesses and service offerings, require significant time, financial and other resources and involve substantial risks, we may not be able to successfully implement our strategies, launch or develop such new businesses and service offerings in time, or achieve the expected benefits. We may also encounter unexpected technological difficulties in developing and implementing new technologies and, as a result, may incur substantial costs or services disruptions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We may confront other challenges as we enter new business domains. Our lack of familiarity with the new products and services and lack of relevant user data relating to these products and services may make it more difficult for us to anticipate user demand and preferences. It may also make it more difficult for us to on-board, monitor and supervise new financial service providers and we may experience more customer complaints about them and their financial products and face costly investigations or litigation as a result of offering the financial products on our platform, which would harm our brand and reputation as well as our financial performance. New business domains may also subject us to new complex regulations to comply with, higher compliance costs and serious consequences in cases of non-compliance. Furthermore, we may not have much bargaining power in new categories of financial products and services and we may not be able to negotiate favorable terms with financial service providers. We may need to price aggressively to gain market share or remain competitive in new financial product service categories. It may be difficult for us to achieve profitability in the new financial product service categories and our profit margin, if any, may be lower than we anticipate, which would adversely affect our overall profitability and results of operations. We cannot assure you that we will be able to address these new challenges and continue to provide exceptional quality services. If we are not able to solve these issues, we may not be able to compete effectively. We cannot assure you that we will be able to recoup our investments in introducing these new businesses and service offerings.

We may not be able to obtain additional capital when desired, on favorable terms or at all.

We believe our current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to meet our current and anticipated needs for general corporate purposes for at least the next 12 months. However, we need to make continued investments in facilities, hardware, software, technological systems and to retain talents to remain competitive, by using funds from bank borrowings and operating cash inflows. Due to the unpredictable nature of the capital markets and our industry, there can be no assurance that we will be able to raise additional capital on terms favorable to us, or at all, if and when required, especially if we experience disappointing operating results. If adequate capital is not available to us as required, our ability to fund our operations, take advantage of unanticipated opportunities, develop or enhance our infrastructure or respond to competitive pressures could be significantly limited. If we do raise additional funds through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our shareholders could be significantly diluted. These newly issued securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of existing shareholders.

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A severe or prolonged downturn in the Chinese or global economy could materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The global macroeconomic environment is facing challenges, including the end of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the economic slowdown in the Eurozone since 2014 and uncertainties over the impact of Brexit. The growth of the PRC economy has slowed down since 2010 compared to the previous decade and the trend may continue in the foreseeable future, especially in light of the challenges the global economy is facing due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. See “— We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.” There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and China. There have been concerns over unrest and terrorist threats in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. There have also been concerns about the relationship between China and other countries, including surrounding Asian countries, which may potentially lead to foreign investors closing down their business or withdrawing their investment in China. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China.

Any prolonged slowdown in the global or Chinese economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Recent changes in U.S. trade policies, including new tariffs on imports from China generally, and reactions by a number of markets including China in response to these U.S. actions, may have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets, and they may significantly reduce global trade and, in particular, trade between China and the United States. Our users and customers may reduce or delay their spending or borrowing activities, while we may have difficulty expanding our customer base fast enough, or at all, to offset the impact of decreased spending by our existing customers.

We and certain of our directors and officers have been named as defendants in a number of putative shareholder class action lawsuits, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.

We will have to defend against several putative shareholder class action lawsuits described in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings,” including any appeals of such lawsuits should our initial defense be unsuccessful. We are currently unable to estimate the possible outcome or loss or possible range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of these lawsuits. In the event that our initial defense of these lawsuits is unsuccessful, there can be no assurance that we will prevail in any appeal. Any adverse outcome of these cases, including any plaintiff’s appeal of the judgments in these lawsuits, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation. In addition, there can be no assurance that our insurance carriers will cover all or part of the defense costs, or any liabilities that may arise from these matters. The litigation process may utilize a significant portion of our resources and divert management’s attention from the day-to-day operations of our company, all of which could harm our business. We also may be subject to claims for indemnification related to these matters, and we cannot predict the impact that indemnification claims may have on our business or financial results.

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters, health epidemics or other public safety concerns affecting the PRC, and particularly Beijing. Natural disasters may give rise to server interruptions, breakdowns, system failures, technology platform failures or internet failures, which could cause the loss or corruption of data or malfunctions of software or hardware as well as adversely affect our ability to operate our platform and provide services and solutions. Our business could also be adversely affected if our employees are affected by health epidemics. Our business operations could be disrupted if any of our employees is suspected of having any transmissible health epidemic, since this may cause our employees to be quarantined and/or our offices to be temperately shut down. In addition, our results of operations could be adversely affected to the extent that any health epidemic harms the Chinese economy in general. Our headquarters are located in Beijing, where most of our management and employees currently reside. Most of our system hardware and back-up systems are hosted in facilities located in Beijing. Consequently, if any natural disasters, health epidemics or other public safety concerns were to affect Beijing, our operation may experience material disruptions, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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For example, beginning in January 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has severely impacted China and the rest of the world, and our business and results of operations have been adversely affected as a result. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the temporary closure of many corporate offices across China. Given the strict implementation of quarantine measures during this period, we and certain of our business partners implemented temporary adjustment of work schemes allowing employees to work from home and adopted remote collaboration. We made operational adjustments to maintain the same high quality service we had always provided our users, customers and partners as we simultaneously worked to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and push forward our business initiatives. However, as our cooperation with financial service partners rely heavily on face-to-face communications, our cooperation with them has been negatively impacted by the quarantine measures in China and in Beijing, in particular, for several months in 2020. Revenue from recommendation services for loans decreased by 83.5% from 2019 to 2020 and revenue from recommendation services for credit cards decreased by 49.7% from 2019 to 2020, partially due to the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue from our advertising, marketing and other services was also negatively affected by the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and decreased by 23.3% from 2019 to 2020. In particular, our insurance brokerage services, which we introduced in the fourth quarter of 2019 after completing the acquisition of a licensed insurance brokerage company in China, was unable to expand as quickly as originally planned due to the strict quarantine measures in China and other negative impacts of COVID-19, as insurance brokerage business also relies heavily on face-to-face communications between our brokers and potential users. Additionally, the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated inability to travel globally has negatively impacted our recommendation service business in Southeast Asia, and in Indonesia, in particular, and has also negatively affected the progress of the originally planned further expansion of our service offerings overseas since early 2020. Such negative global impact may continue in 2021. Furthermore, certain entities that we and one of our VIEs acquired to support our business growth in China and overseas were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their actual financial performance in 2020 was significantly below the forecasts at acquisition, and development of these business were expected to slow down, as a result, we recorded an impairment for goodwill of RMB12.6 million in 2020 attributable to such entities. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial performance of these entities may continue in the future. The business expansion plans and financial performance of these entities may continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

Many of the quarantine measures within China have since been relaxed, and we, together with our business partners, have gradually resumed normal operations since mid-July 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in, and may intensify, global economic distress, and the duration and extent of the impact of COVID-19 outbreak is highly uncertain at this time. The extent to which it may affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on the future development of the outbreak, which is also highly uncertain and difficult to predict and will depend on a number of factors, including the duration and severity of COVID-19, the extent and severity of new waves of outbreak in China and other countries, the development and progress of distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and other medical treatment and the effectiveness of such vaccine and other medical treatment, and the actions taken by government authorities to contain the outbreak, all of which are beyond our control. If the situation materially deteriorates in China or globally, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations.

Foreign ownership of internet-based businesses, such as distribution of online information, is subject to restrictions under current PRC laws and regulations. For example, foreign investors are not allowed to own more than 50% of the equity interests in a value-added telecommunication service provider which is engaged in internet information provision business like us and any such foreign investor must have experience in providing value-added telecommunication services overseas and maintain a good track record in accordance with the Special Entry Management Measures (Negative List) for the Access of Foreign Investment (2020 version), which was promulgated on June 23, 2020 and took effect on July 23, 2020, and other applicable laws and regulations.

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We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with no equity ownership in our variable interest entities and our PRC subsidiaries are considered foreign-invested enterprises. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we conduct operations or may conduct certain other operations subject to foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions in China through the VIEs, and we have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with the VIEs and their shareholders, which enable us to (i) exercise effective control over the VIEs, (ii) receive majority of the economic benefits and bear the obligation to absorb substantially all of the losses of the VIEs, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in the VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC laws. Because of these contractual arrangements, we are deemed the primary beneficiary of the VIEs and hence consolidate their financial results under U.S. GAAP. For a detailed description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” Investors in our Class A ordinary shares or the ADSs thus are not purchasing equity interest in the VIEs in China but instead are purchasing equity interest in a Cayman Islands holding company. If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with the VIEs do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties, forced to relinquish our interests in those operations or required to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with the VIEs and deregistering the equity pledge of the VIEs, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over the VIEs and thus have a material effect on our operations and result in the value of the securities diminishing substantially. Our shares may decline in value if we are unable to assert our contractual control rights over the assets of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs that conduct all or substantially all of our operations. Our holding company in the Cayman Islands, our VIEs, and investors of our company face uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government that could affect the enforceability of the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and, consequently, significantly affect the financial performance of our VIEs and our company as a group.

In the opinion of Fangda Partners, our PRC legal counsel, (i) the ownership structure of our wholly foreign owned subsidiaries and the VIEs in China does not result in any violation of PRC laws and regulations currently in effect, and (ii) the contractual arrangements between our wholly foreign owned subsidiaries, the VIEs and the shareholders of the VIEs that are governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable, and do not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect. However, we have been advised by our PRC legal counsel that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules, and there can be no assurance that the PRC regulatory authorities and PRC courts will take a view that is consistent with the opinion of our PRC legal counsel.

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, and on December 26, 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules of the Foreign Investment Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Implementing Rules, to further clarify and elaborate the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules both took effect on January 1, 2020. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules do not explicitly classify whether variable interest entities that are controlled through contractual arrangements would be deemed as foreign invested enterprises if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors. Since the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules are relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to their interpretation and implementation, and it is still unclear how the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules would affect our variable interest entity structure and business operation. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, its implementing rules and other regulations and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

If the ownership structure, contractual arrangements and businesses of our PRC subsidiaries or the VIEs are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or our PRC subsidiaries or the VIEs fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures, including:

revoking the business licenses and/or operating licenses of such entities;
shutting down our servers or blocking our website, or discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on our operation through any transactions between our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs;
imposing fines, confiscating the income from our PRC subsidiaries or the VIEs, or imposing other requirements with which we or our variable interest entities may not be able to comply;

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requiring us to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with the VIEs and deregistering the equity pledge of the VIEs, which in turn would affect our ability to consolidate, derive economic interests from, or exert effective control over the VIEs; or
restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our IPO to finance our business and operations in China, and taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

Any of these actions could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, new PRC laws, regulations, and rules may be introduced to impose additional requirements, posing additional challenges to our corporate structure and contractual arrangements. If any of these occurrences results in our inability to direct the activities of the VIEs that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from the VIEs, we may not be able to consolidate the entities in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause our ADSs to significantly decline in value.

We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIEs and their shareholders to exercise control over a significant part of our business, which may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on the contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities to conduct a significant part of our operations in China. We rely on contractual arrangements with the VIEs and their shareholders to conduct a significant part of our operations in China. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” The shareholders of the VIEs may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. If we had direct ownership of the VIEs, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of the VIEs, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the contractual arrangements, we would rely on legal remedies under PRC law for breach of contract in the event that the VIEs and their shareholders did not perform their obligations under the contracts. These legal remedies may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over the VIEs.

If the VIEs or their shareholders fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. All the agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how contractual arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC law. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and if the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our variable interest entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. See “—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

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The shareholders of the VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

RDD is 40% owned by the appointed family member of our chief executive officer, Mr. Daqing (David) Ye, 40% owned by Mr. Jiayan Lu, who is our chief operating officer and co-founder, and 20% owned by Mr. Caofeng Liu, who is our chief technology officer and co-founder. Owners of the other VIEs include Jianpu’s employees, family members of our co-founders, one affiliate to our co-founder and an investment holding company controlled by the founder of an acquired subsidiary. They may have potential conflicts of interest with us. These shareholders may breach, or cause the VIEs to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and the VIEs, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our variable interest entities and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with the VIEs to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor.

Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company. For certain management members, we rely on them to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands and China, which provide that directors owe a fiduciary duty to the company that requires them to act in good faith and in what they believe to be the best interests of the company and not to use their position for personal gains. There is currently no specific and clear guidance under PRC laws that address any conflict between PRC laws and laws of Cayman Islands in respect of any conflict relating to corporate governance. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholders of the VIEs, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

Our contractual arrangements with the VIEs may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our variable interest entities owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. The PRC enterprise income tax law requires every enterprise in China to submit its annual enterprise income tax return together with a report on transactions with its related parties to the relevant tax authorities. The tax authorities may impose reasonable adjustments on taxation if they have identified any related party transactions that are inconsistent with arm’s length principles. We may face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements between our wholly foreign owned subsidiaries, our variable interest entities, and shareholders of the VIEs were not entered into on an arm’s length basis in such a way as to result in an impermissible reduction in taxes under applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations, and adjust the income of the VIEs in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment.

A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction of expense deductions recorded by the VIEs for PRC tax purposes, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities without reducing the tax expenses of relevant PRC subsidiaries. In addition, if our PRC subsidiaries request the shareholders of the relevant VIEs to transfer their equity interest in such VIEs at nominal or no value pursuant to the contractual agreements, such transfer could be viewed as a gift and subject the relevant PRC subsidiaries to PRC income tax. Furthermore, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on the VIEs for the adjusted but unpaid taxes according to the applicable regulations. Our financial position could be materially and adversely affected if our variable interest entities’ tax liabilities increase or if it is required to pay late payment fees and other penalties.

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We may lose the ability to use and benefit from assets held by the VIEs that are material to the operation of our business if the entity goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.

As part of our contractual arrangements with the VIEs, these entities hold certain assets that are material to the operation of our business. If any of the VIEs go bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we and our VIEs may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Under the contractual arrangements, the VIEs may not, in any manner, sell, transfer, mortgage or dispose of its assets or legal or beneficial interests in the business without our prior consent. If the VIEs undergo a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Audit Committee Independent Review, Restatement of Our Consolidated Financial Statements, Internal Controls and Related Matters

We completed an audit committee independent review in the first half 2021, which required significant management time and attention, resulted in significant legal and other expenses, and led to the termination of a number of employees.

As previously announced in June 2020 and February 2021 and disclosed in our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 filed on April 30, 2021, the audit committee of our board of directors (the “Audit Committee”), with the assistance of advisers, had been conducting an internal review (the “Review”) of certain matters relating to transactions carried out by the Credit Card Business Unit of the Company (the “Credit Card BU”) with third-party business entities. The Review has been completed and found that certain transactions involved third-party agents (including both upstream agents and downstream suppliers) with undisclosed relationships, and some transactions lacked business substance (“questionable transactions”). As a result, certain revenue and associated costs and expenses were inflated or inaccurately recorded in the consolidated financial statements. Evidence suggests that certain employees from the Credit Card BU may have known about or may have been involved in certain of the questionable transactions that resulted in inflated sales commissions to such employees. In relation to the questionable transactions, the Review found that certain employees improperly altered supporting documents that were provided to our external auditor. The total amount of overstated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2018 as previously reported on Form 20-F was RMB90 million, and for the year ended December 31, 2019 as previously furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K was RMB164 million, representing approximately 4.5% and 10.1% of the total revenues previously reported by us for such years, respectively, and the adjustment to overstated cost and expenses together with the reserve for potential credit loss was approximately RMB90 million and RMB130 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively, resulting in a minimal net profit impact for the year ended December 31, 2018 and an RMB34 million increase in net loss for the year ended December 31, 2019. For more details, see “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—The Independent Review.”

We incurred significant costs in connection with the Review, and our management team devoted significant time to the Review. Moreover, we and certain of our officers have been named as defendants in a putative securities class action that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in February 2021 (Guttentag v. Jianpu Technology Inc. et al. (Case No. 21-cv-01419)). Plaintiffs allege, in sum and substance, that certain of our disclosures since the first quarter of 2018 contained material misstatements and omissions in relation to the issues identified in the Review and in violation of the federal securities laws. The action is currently in its preliminary stage. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.” We and our current and former directors and officers may be subject to other litigation claims and to regulatory inquiries, investigations, or other proceedings arising from or relating to the Review or the Restatement. Regardless of the outcome of the filed lawsuit described above, any additional lawsuits that may be filed, or any regulatory inquiries, investigations, or proceedings that may be commenced, they will likely consume a significant amount of our internal resources and result in additional costs.

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We have entered into indemnification agreements with our current and former directors and officers, and our articles of association require us, to the fullest extent permitted by Cayman Islands law, to indemnify each of our directors and officers who is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a director or officer of our company. Although we maintain insurance coverage in amounts and with deductibles that we believe are appropriate for our operations, our insurance coverage may not cover all claims that may be brought against us or our current and former directors and officers, and insurance coverage may not continue to be available to us at a reasonable cost. As a result, we may be exposed to substantial uninsured liabilities, including pursuant to our indemnification obligations, which could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

Matters relating to or arising from the Restatement and the Review, including adverse publicity and potential concerns from our customers and partners, have had and could continue to have an adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

We have been and could continue to be the subject of negative publicity focusing on the Restatement of our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 and adjustments of our financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 as previously furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K, and we may be adversely impacted by negative reactions from our customers, partners or others with whom we do business. Concerns include the perception of the effort required to address our accounting and control environment, and the ability for us to be a long-term provider to our customers. Continued adverse publicity and potential concerns from our customers could harm our business and have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

We identified three material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting that were previously reported and continue to exist as of December 31, 2020, and if we fail to establish and maintain effective internal controls, our ability to report our financial results accurately or to prevent fraud may be adversely affected, and investor confidence and the market price of the ADSs may be adversely affected.

We are subject to reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. The SEC adopted rules pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requiring every public company to include a management report on such company’s internal control over financial reporting in its annual report, which contains management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting.

As we qualify as an “emerging growth company,” our independent registered public accounting firm has not conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting. However, we and our independent registered public accounting firm, in connection with the preparation and external audit of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018, 2019, and 2020 identified three material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, 2019, and 2020, in accordance with the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”) of the United States. As a result of the material weaknesses, management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

One material weakness identified relates to our failure to design and implement effective controls with a sufficient level of precision to prevent and detect misstatements related to our credit card related business. A second material weakness identified relates to our failure to design with a sufficient level of precision and implement the controls related to pre-approval and sufficient and accurate disclosures of related party transactions effectively, which could have a material effect on our financial statements. A third material weakness identified, which was also reported in 2017, 2018 and 2019, relates to the lack of sufficient competent financial reporting and accounting personnel with appropriate understanding of U.S. GAAP to design and implement formal period-end financial reporting policies and procedures, to address complex U.S. GAAP technical accounting issues, and to prepare and review our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in accordance with U.S. GAAP and financial reporting requirements set forth by the SEC. We have implemented and are continuing to implement a number of measures to address the material weaknesses and the deficiencies that have been identified. For details, see “Item 15. Controls and Procedures.” However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to continuously implement these measures to effectively remediate our material weaknesses, or that we will not identify additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the future.

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Failure to remediate these material weaknesses or failure to discover and address any other control deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our consolidated financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and make related regulatory filings on a timely basis. The Restatement of financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 and any future material misstatements in our financial statements could cause our investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal controls expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list or to other regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions or government policies could have a material and adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Substantially all of our assets and operations are located in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be influenced to a significant degree by political, economic and social conditions in China generally and by continued economic growth in China as a whole. The PRC economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the level of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the PRC government has implemented measures emphasizing the utilization of market forces for economic reform, the reduction of state ownership of productive assets, and the establishment of improved corporate governance in business enterprises, a substantial portion of productive assets in China is still owned by the government. In addition, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies.

The PRC government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy, and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

While the Chinese economy has experienced significant growth over the past decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. The Chinese government has implemented various measures to encourage economic growth and guide the allocation of resources. Some of these measures may benefit the overall Chinese economy, but may have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations.

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value.

In 1979, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection available to you and us.

Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, and which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of any of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, and any failure to respond to changes in the regulatory environment in China could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

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Any administrative and court proceedings in China may be protracted, resulting in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may impede our ability to enforce the contracts we have entered into and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, the PRC government has recently announced its plans to enhance its regulatory oversight of Chinese companies listing overseas. The Opinions on Intensifying Crack Down on Illegal Securities Activities issued on July 6, 2021 called for:

tightening oversight of data security, cross-border data flow and administration of classified information, as well as amendments to relevant regulation to specify responsibilities of overseas listed Chinese companies with respect to data security and information security;
enhanced oversight of overseas listed companies as well as overseas equity fundraising and listing by Chinese companies; and
extraterritorial application of China’s securities laws.

As the Opinions on Intensifying Crack Down on Illegal Securities Activities were recently issued, there are great uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation thereof. The Chinese government may promulgate relevant laws, rules and regulations that may impose additional and significant obligations and liabilities on overseas listed Chinese companies regarding data security, cross-border data flow, and compliance with China’s securities laws. See also “— Risks Related to Our Business—Our business is subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection in China. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and any failure or perceived failure to comply with these laws and regulations could result in negative publicity, legal proceedings, increased cost of operations, or otherwise harm our business.” It is uncertain whether or how these new laws, rules and regulations and the interpretation and implementation thereof may affect us, but among other things, our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to obtain external financing through the issuance of equity securities overseas could be negatively affected.

The PRC government’s significant oversight and discretion over our business operation could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our ADSs.

We conduct our business primarily through our PRC subsidiaries and our VIEs. Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over the conduct of our business, and it may influence our operations, which could result in a material adverse change in our operation and/or the value of our ADSs. Also, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. Any such action could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. In addition, implementation of industry-wide regulations directly targeting our operations could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline. Therefore, investors of our company and our business face potential uncertainty from actions taken by the PRC government affecting our business.

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Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment, and its implementing rules and other regulations and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The variable interest entity structure has been adopted by many PRC-based companies, including us, to obtain necessary licenses and permits in the industries that are currently subject to foreign investment restrictions in China. The Ministry of Commerce published a discussion draft of the proposed Foreign Investment Law in January 2015, or the 2015 Draft FIL, according to which, variable interest entities that are controlled via contractual arrangements would also be deemed as foreign-invested entities, if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors. In March 2019, the PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, and in December 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules to further clarify and elaborate the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules both became effective from January 1, 2020 and replaced the major previous laws and regulations governing foreign investments in the PRC. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law ,“foreign investments” refer to investment activities conducted by foreign investors (including foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises or other foreign organizations) directly or indirectly in the PRC, which include any of the following circumstances: (i) foreign investors setting up foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, (ii) foreign investors obtaining shares, equity interests, property portions or other similar rights and interests of enterprises within the PRC, (iii) foreign investors investing in new projects in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, and (iv) investment in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules do not introduce the concept of “control” in determining whether a company would be considered as a foreign-invested enterprise, nor do they explicitly provide whether the variable interest entity structure would be deemed as a method of foreign investment. However, the Foreign Investment Law has a catch-all provision that includes into the definition of “foreign investments” made by foreign investors in China in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council, and as the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules are newly adopted and relevant government authorities may promulgate more laws, regulations or rules on the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the concept of “control” as stated in the 2015 Draft FIL may be embodied in, or the variable interest entity structure adopted by us may be deemed as a method of foreign investment by, any of such future laws, regulations and rules. Furthermore, on December 19, 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce promulgated the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, which took effect on January 18, 2021. Under the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, investments in military, national defense-related areas or in locations in proximity to military facilities, or investments that would result in acquiring the actual control of assets in certain key sectors, such as critical agricultural products, energy and resources, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, cultural products and services, IT, Internet products and services, financial services and technology sectors, are required to be approved by designated governmental authorities in advance. Although the term “investment through other means” is not clearly defined under the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, we cannot rule out the possibility that control through contractual arrangement may be regarded as a form of actual control and therefore require approval from the competent governmental authority. As the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures were recently promulgated, there are great uncertainties with respect to its interpretation and implementation. Accordingly, there are substantial uncertainties as to whether our VIE structure may be deemed as a method of foreign investment in the future. If our consolidated VIEs were deemed as foreign-invested enterprises under any of such future laws, regulations and rules, and any of the businesses that we or our VIEs operate would be in the “negative list” for foreign investment and therefore be subject to foreign investment restrictions or prohibitions, further actions required to be taken by us under such laws, regulations and rules may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or rules mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related businesses and companies and other businesses we and our VIEs are or will be engaged in.

The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including foreign ownership and the licensing and permit requirements for companies in the internet industry. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulation Related to Foreign Investment” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Value-Added Telecommunications Services.” These laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations.

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Due to the restriction of foreign investment in businesses providing value-added telecommunications services in China, including internet information provision services, we rely on the contractual arrangements with RDD, one of our variable interest entities, to provide such services. RDD has obtained an ICP license. Any challenge to the validity of these arrangements may significantly disrupt our business, subject us to sanctions, compromise enforceability of our contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us. It is uncertain if our variable interest entities will be required to obtain a separate operating license in addition to the valued-added telecommunications business operating licenses for internet content provision services.

Although we believe that we or our VIEs are not explicitly required to obtain a separate license for our mobile applications, there can be no assurance that we or our VIEs will not be required to apply for such license in the future.

The interpretation and application of existing PRC laws, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including our business. For instance, on August 1, 2019, the General Office of the State Council promulgated the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Well-regulated and Sound Development of the Platform Economy, or the Guiding Opinions on Platform Economy, which provide that the market access management and the operational and post-operational supervision of the financial business of internet platforms involving financial services shall be subject to laws, regulations and the relevant provisions. Establishment of financial institutions, operation of financial activities, provision of financial information intermediary and transaction matching services shall be subject to entry administration according to the laws. Due to the lack of further interpretations of the Guiding Opinions on Platform Economy, it is uncertain whether we will be deemed as providing “financial information intermediary and transaction matching services” as prescribed under the Guiding Opinions on Platform Economy and be subject to entry administration. Therefore, we cannot assure you that we and our VIEs have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones, and we cannot assure you that we and our VIEs will not be required in the future by the relevant governmental authorities to obtain other approvals or licenses. If we or our VIEs were required to obtain any new approval or license, we or our VIEs may not be able to obtain such license or approval in a timely manner, or at all.

As a platform, we have been continuously improving and innovating products, services and solutions to better empower our users and enable financial service providers. For instance, we launched our Social Media and Partner Program in the third quarter of 2018, within which we introduced a cooperation system with our users who may register as our business partners in carrying out the financial product recommendation services on our platform (see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Our Open Platform—Our Users—Marketing and User Acquisition”). Given the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulations, and that we have limited control over our users and financial service providers on our platform and may not be able to effectively monitor their activities, so we cannot assure you that our practices or the activities of our users and financial service providers will not be deemed to violate any existing or future laws, regulations or policies. If any of our practices or the activities of our users and financial service providers is deemed to violate any existing or future laws, regulations or policies, we may be ordered to cease such activities, and may be subject to other penalties as determined by the relevant government authorities, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, we started to operate insurance brokerage business through Shanghai Anguo Insurance Brokerage Co., Ltd. since the fourth quarter of 2019. The insurance brokerage business is a highly regulated industry in China, and the regulatory regime continues to evolve. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, or the CBIRC, has extensive authority to supervise and regulate the insurance industry in China and has been enhancing its supervision over this industry in recent years, and new laws, regulations and regulatory requirements have been promulgated and implemented from time to time. We face challenges brought by these new laws, regulations and regulatory requirements, as well as significant uncertainties in the interpretation and application thereof. We might be required to spend significant time and resources in order to comply with any material changes in the regulatory environment, which could trigger significant changes to the competitive landscape of our insurance brokerage business and we may lose some or all of our competitive advantages during this process. Moreover, the CBIRC and its local branches may conduct various examinations and inspections on our insurance brokerage business operations from time to time, which could cover a broad range of aspects, including financial reporting, tax reporting, internal control and compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. If any non-compliance incidents in our insurance brokerage business operation are identified, we may be required to take certain rectification measures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, or we may be subject to other administrative penalties.

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We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a holding company, and we may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC subsidiaries for our cash and financing requirements, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders and service any debt we may incur. For a detailed discussion of applicable PRC regulations governing distribution of dividends, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Holding Company Structure.” Additionally, if our PRC subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. Furthermore, the PRC tax authorities may require our subsidiaries to adjust their taxable income under the contractual arrangements they currently have in place with our variable interest entities in a manner that would materially and adversely affect their ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. See “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—Our contractual arrangements with the VIEs may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and they may determine that we or our variable interest entities owe additional taxes, which could negatively affect our financial condition and the value of your investment.”

Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business. See also “—If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.”

Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

The conversion of Renminbi into foreign currencies, including U.S. dollars, is based on rates set by the People’s Bank of China. The Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. The value of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by changes in China’s political and economic conditions and by China’s foreign exchange policies, among other things. We cannot assure you that Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

Any significant appreciation or depreciation of Renminbi may materially and adversely affect our revenues, earnings and financial position, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in U.S. dollars. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive into Renminbi to pay our operating expenses, appreciation of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, a significant depreciation of Renminbi against the U.S. dollar may significantly reduce the U.S. dollar equivalent of our earnings, which in turn could adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

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PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our offshore offerings to make loans to or make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Under PRC laws and regulations, we are permitted to utilize the proceeds from our IPO and the concurrent private placements to fund our PRC subsidiaries by making loans to or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, subject to applicable government registration and approval requirements. For more details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Foreign Exchange—Regulation on Foreign Currency Exchange.” These PRC laws and regulations may significantly limit our ability to use Renminbi converted from the net proceeds of our IPO and the concurrent private placements to fund the establishment of new entities in China by our PRC subsidiaries, to invest in or acquire any other PRC companies through our PRC subsidiaries, or to establish new variable interest entities in China. Moreover, we cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans to our PRC subsidiaries or future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to use the proceeds we received or expect to receive from our offshore offerings and to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Governmental control of currency conversion may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and affect the value of your investment.

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, approval from or registration with appropriate governmental authorities is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Foreign Exchange—Regulation on Foreign Currency Exchange.”

Since 2016, the PRC government has tightened its foreign exchange policies again and stepped up scrutiny of major outbound capital movement. More restrictions and a substantial vetting process have been put in place by SAFE to regulate cross-border transactions falling under the capital account. The PRC government may also restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions, at its discretion. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

PRC regulations relating to offshore investment activities by PRC residents may limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us or otherwise expose us or our PRC resident beneficial owners to liability and penalties under PRC law.

SAFE requires PRC residents or entities to register with SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing. In addition, such PRC residents or entities must update their SAFE registrations when the offshore special purpose vehicle undergoes certain material events. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Foreign Exchange—Regulations on Foreign Exchange Registration of Overseas Investment by PRC Residents.”

If our shareholders who are PRC residents or entities do not complete their registration with the local SAFE branches, our PRC subsidiaries may be prohibited from distributing their profits and any proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to us, and we may be restricted in our ability to contribute additional capital to our PRC subsidiaries. Moreover, failure to comply with SAFE registration requirements could result in liability under PRC laws for evasion of applicable foreign exchange restrictions. All of the shareholders who directly or indirectly hold shares in our Cayman Islands holding company and who are known to us as being PRC residents have completed the initial foreign exchange registrations.

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However, we may not be informed of the identities of all the PRC residents or entities holding direct or indirect interests in our company, nor can we compel our beneficial owners to comply with SAFE registration requirements. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents or entities have complied with, and will in the future make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by, SAFE regulations. Failure by such shareholders or beneficial owners to comply with SAFE regulations, or failure by us to amend the foreign exchange registrations of our PRC subsidiaries, could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

A number of PRC laws and regulations have established procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time consuming and complex. In addition to the Anti-monopoly Law itself, these include the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in 2006, and the Rules of the Ministry of Commerce on Implementation of Security Review System of Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the Security Review Rules, promulgated in 2011. These laws and regulations impose requirements in some instances that the Ministry of Commerce be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. In addition, the Anti-Monopoly Law requires that the anti-monopoly enforcement agency be notified in advance of any concentration of undertaking if certain thresholds are triggered. Moreover, the Security Review Rules specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the Ministry of Commerce, and prohibit any attempt to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the relevant regulations to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including approvals from the anti-monopoly enforcement agency or the Ministry of Commerce, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.

Under SAFE regulations, PRC residents who participate in a stock incentive plan in an overseas publicly listed company are required to register with SAFE or its local branches and complete certain other procedures. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Stock Incentive Plans.” We and our PRC resident directors, employees and consultants who participate in our share incentive plans are subject to these regulations. If we or any of these PRC resident directors, employees and consultants fail to comply with these regulations, we or such directors, employees and consultants may be subject to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions. We also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional incentive plans for our directors, executive officers and employees under PRC law.

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If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law and its implementation rules, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with a “de facto management body” within the PRC is considered a PRC resident enterprise. The implementation rules define the term “de facto management body” as the body that exercises full and substantial control over and overall management of the business, productions, personnel, accounts and properties of an enterprise. In 2009, the State Administration of Taxation issued a circular, known as Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. Although Circular 82 only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, the criteria set forth in the circular may reflect the State Administration of Taxation’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. According to Circular 82, an offshore incorporated enterprise controlled by a PRC enterprise or a PRC enterprise group will be regarded as a PRC tax resident by virtue of having its “de facto management body” in China and will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on its global income only if all of the following conditions are met: (i) the primary location of the senior management team in charge of day-to-day operation is in the PRC; (ii) decisions relating to the enterprise’s financial and human resource matters are made or are subject to approval by organizations or personnel in the PRC; (iii) the enterprise’s primary assets, accounting books and records, company seals, and board and shareholder resolutions, are located or maintained in the PRC; and (iv) at least 50% of voting board members or senior executives habitually reside in the PRC.

We believe that none of our entities outside of China is a PRC resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes. However, the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities and uncertainties remain with respect to the interpretation of the term “de facto management body.” If the PRC tax authorities determine that we are a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, we will be subject to the enterprise income tax on our global income at the rate of 25% and we will be required to comply with PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. In addition, gains realized on the sale or other disposition of our ADSs or Class A ordinary shares may be subject to PRC tax, at a rate of 10% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or 20% in the case of non-PRC individuals (in each case, subject to the provisions of any applicable tax treaty), if such gains are deemed to be from PRC sources. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of our company would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in the ADSs.

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We may not be able to obtain certain benefits under the relevant tax arrangement for dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us through our Hong Kong subsidiaries.

We are a holding company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and as such rely on dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiaries to satisfy part of our liquidity requirements. Pursuant to the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, a withholding tax rate of 10% currently applies to dividends paid by a PRC “resident enterprise” to a foreign enterprise investor, unless any such foreign investor’s jurisdiction of incorporation has a tax treaty with China that provides for preferential tax treatment. Pursuant to the Arrangement between the Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income, such withholding tax rate may be lowered to 5% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise is the beneficial owner of the dividends and owns no less than 25% of a PRC enterprise. The State Administration of Taxation promulgated SAT Circular 9 in February 2018, which became effective from April 2018 and stipulates that in determining whether a non-resident enterprise has the status as a beneficial owner, comprehensive analysis shall be conducted based on the factors listed therein and the actual circumstances of the specific case shall be taken into consideration. Specifically, it expressly excludes an agent or a designated payee from being considered as a “beneficial owner”. Furthermore, the Administrative Measures for Non-Resident Enterprises to Enjoy Treatments under Tax Treaties, which became effective in August 2015, require non-resident enterprises to determine whether they are qualified to enjoy the preferential tax treatment under the tax treaties and file relevant report and materials with the tax authorities. There are also other conditions for enjoying the reduced withholding tax rate according to other relevant tax rules and regulations. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Taxation—China.” As of December 31, 2018, no withholding tax was recorded on the retained earnings of our or RONG360 Inc.’s PRC subsidiaries (as applicable) as they did not have any retained earnings for any of the periods. We do not have any present plan to have our subsidiaries to distribute their earnings overseas, and we intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings in China to operate and expand our business within the PRC. Accordingly, we did not record any withholding tax on the retained earnings of our subsidiaries in the PRC as of December 31, 2019 and 2020. We cannot assure you that our determination regarding our qualification to enjoy the preferential tax treatment will not be challenged by the relevant tax authority or we will be able to complete the necessary filings with the relevant tax authority and enjoy the preferential withholding tax rate of 5% under the arrangement with respect to any dividends to be paid by our PRC subsidiaries to our Hong Kong subsidiaries.

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We and our shareholders face uncertainty with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises, assets attributed to a PRC establishment of a non-PRC company or immovable properties located in China owned by non-PRC companies.

In February 2015, the State Administration of Taxation issued the Bulletin on Issues of Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Transfers of Assets by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or SAT Bulletin 7. In October, 2017, SAT issued the Bulletin of SAT on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or the SAT Bulletin 37, which became effective on December 1, 2017 and repealed certain rules stipulated SAT Bulletin 7. The Bulletin 37 further details and clarifies the tax withholding methods in respect of income of non-resident enterprises. Pursuant to the applicable laws and regulations, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if the arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from the indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax. According to SAT Bulletin 7, “PRC taxable assets” include assets attributed to an establishment in China, immovable properties located in China, and equity investments in PRC resident enterprises. Gains derived from the transfer of PRC taxable assets by a direct holder that is a non-PRC resident enterprise is subject to PRC enterprise income taxes. When determining whether an arrangement has a “reasonable commercial purpose”, the following factors are considered: whether the value of the equity interest of the relevant offshore enterprise is mainly derived from PRC taxable assets; whether the assets of the relevant offshore enterprise mainly consist of direct or indirect investment in China; whether the income of the relevant offshore enterprise is mainly generated from China; whether the offshore enterprise and its subsidiaries directly or indirectly holding PRC taxable assets have real commercial nature as evidenced by actual function and risk exposure; for how long the existing business model and organizational structure of the relevant offshore enterprise has existed; the replicability of the arrangement by direct transfer of PRC taxable assets; and the tax situation of such indirect transfer and applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements. Gains derived from an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment or place of business are to be included in the enterprise income tax filing of the PRC establishment or place of business, and are subject to a PRC enterprise income tax rate of 25%. In case of a transfer of immovable properties located in China or of equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not related to a PRC establishment or place of business of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax rate of 10% applies, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements. The party who is obligated to pay for the transfer has the withholding obligation with respect to the transfer. Where the payor fails to withhold sufficient tax, the transferor is required to declare and pay such tax to the tax authority by itself. Where a transferor fails to declare and pay such tax, the tax authority may require it to pay during a specified period, and the transferor shall declare and pay such tax during the period determined by the tax authority; and where the transferor declares and pays tax on its own initiative before the specified period expires, it shall be deemed to have paid such tax as scheduled. SAT Bulletin 7 does not apply to sales of shares by investors through a public stock exchange if the shares were acquired by the investors through a public stock exchange.

We face uncertainties as to the application of SAT Bulletin 37 and SAT Bulletin 7, including reporting and other obligations with respect to certain past and future transactions where PRC taxable assets are involved, such as offshore restructuring, sale of the shares in our offshore subsidiaries or investments. We may be subject to filing obligations or taxed as the transferor, or subject to withholding obligations as the transferee, in the transactions. For transfer of our shares by investors that are non-PRC resident enterprises, our PRC subsidiaries may be requested to assist in filings under SAT Bulletin 7. We may be required to allocate valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 37 and SAT Bulletin 7, to request relevant transferors from whom we purchase taxable assets to comply with these rules, or to establish that we should not be taxed under these rules, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Our auditor is currently not subject to inspections by the PCAOB. Our ADSs may be delisted under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or fully investigate auditors who are located in China, as it has not been and is currently unable to do. The delisting of our ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections deprives our investors with the benefits of such inspections.

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act, was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCA Act states if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit our shares or ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the “over-the-counter” trading market in the U.S.

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Our auditor, the independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included elsewhere in this annual report, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. Since our auditor is located in China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB has been unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditor is currently not inspected by the PCAOB.

On March 24, 2021, the SEC adopted interim final rules relating to the implementation of certain disclosure and documentation requirements of the HFCA Act. We will be required to comply with these rules if the SEC identifies us as having a “non-inspection” year under a process to be subsequently established by the SEC. The SEC is assessing how to implement other requirements of the HFCA Act, including the listing and trading prohibition requirements described above.

On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a bill which, if passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law, would reduce the number of consecutive non-inspection years required for triggering the prohibitions under the HFCA Act from three years to two.

On September 22, 2021, the PCAOB adopted a new rule related to its responsibilities under the HFCA Act, which provides a framework for the PCAOB to use when determining, as contemplated under the HFCA Act, whether it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms located in a foreign jurisdiction because of a position taken by one or more authorities in that jurisdiction. The new rule is subject to approval by the SEC.

The SEC may propose additional rules or guidance that could impact us if our auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspection. For example, on August 6, 2020, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, or the PWG, issued the Report on Protecting United States Investors from Significant Risks from Chinese Companies to the then President of the United States. This report recommended the SEC implement five recommendations to address companies from jurisdictions that do not provide the PCAOB with sufficient access to fulfil its statutory mandate. Some of the concepts of these recommendations were implemented with the enactment of the HFCA Act. However, some of the recommendations were more stringent than the HFCA Act. For example, if a company was not subject to PCAOB inspection, the report recommended that the transition period before a company would be delisted would end on January 1, 2022.

The SEC has announced that the SEC staff is preparing a consolidated proposal for the rules regarding the implementation of the HFCA Act and to address the recommendations in the PWG report. It is unclear when the SEC will complete its rulemaking and when such rules will become effective and what, if any, of the PWG recommendations will be adopted. The implications of this possible regulation in addition the requirements of the HFCA Act are uncertain. Such uncertainty could cause the market price of our ADSs to be materially and adversely affected, and our securities could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” earlier than would be required by the HFCA Act. If our securities are unable to be listed on another securities exchange by then, such a delisting would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with a potential delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ADSs.

The PCAOB’s inability to conduct inspections in China prevents it from fully evaluating the audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, we and investors in our ordinary shares are deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our stock to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

In May 2013, the PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which establishes a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations undertaken by the PCAOB in the PRC or by the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States. The PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections in the PRC of audit firms that are registered with the PCAOB and audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges.

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Proceedings instituted by the SEC against certain PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

Starting in 2011 certain PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, were affected by a conflict between U.S. and Chinese law. Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in mainland China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain from the Chinese firms access to their audit work papers and related documents. The firms were, however, advised and directed that under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the U.S. regulators on those requests, and that requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China had to be channeled through the CSRC.

In late 2012, this impasse led the SEC to commence administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the Chinese accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm. A first instance trial of the proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC’s internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the firms. The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the firms including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC, although that proposed penalty did not take effect pending review by the Commissioners of the SEC. On February 6, 2015, before a review by the Commissioner had taken place, the firms reached a settlement with the SEC. Under the settlement, the SEC accepted that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents will normally be made to the CSRC. The firms failed to meet specified criteria, the SEC retained authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures on the firms depending on the nature of the failure.

Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four PRC-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice four years after entry of the settlement. The four-year mark occurred on February 6, 2019. While we cannot predict if the SEC will further challenge the four PRC-based accounting firms’ compliance with U.S. law in connection with U.S. regulatory requests for audit work papers or if the results of such a challenge would result in the SEC imposing penalties such as suspensions. If additional remedial measures are imposed on the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

In the event the four PRC-based accounting firms become subject to additional legal challenges by the SEC or PCAOB, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.

If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of the ADSs from the New York Stock Exchange or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of the ADSs in the United States.

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It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigations or collect evidence within China.

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigations that are common in jurisdictions outside China are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigation initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the United States or other jurisdictions may not be efficient in the absence of a mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC, and without the consent by the Chinese securities regulatory authorities and the other competent governmental agencies, no entity or individual may provide documents or materials related to securities business to any foreign party. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability of an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China and the potential obstacles for information provision may further increase difficulties you face in protecting your interests. See also “—Risks Related to Our ADSs— You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.”

The custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, may fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets.

Under the PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with relevant PRC market regulation administrative authorities.

In order to secure the use of our chops and seals, we have established internal control procedures and rules for using these chops and seals. In any event that the chops and seals are intended to be used, the responsible personnel will submit the application through our office automation system and the application will be verified and approved by authorized employees in accordance with our internal control procedures and rules. In addition, in order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to authorized employees. Although we monitor such authorized employees, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. There is a risk that our employees could abuse their authority, for example, by entering into a contract not approved by us or seeking to gain control of one of our subsidiaries or our VIEs or their subsidiaries. If any employee obtains, misuses or misappropriates our chops and seals or other controlling non-tangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve and divert management from our operations.

Recent litigation and negative publicity surrounding China-based companies listed in the U.S. may result in increased regulatory scrutiny of us and negatively impact the trading price of our ADSs.

We believe that litigation and negative publicity surrounding companies with operations in China that are listed in the U.S. have negatively impacted stock prices for such companies. Various equity-based research organizations have published reports on China-based companies after examining, among other things, their corporate governance practices, related party transactions, sales practices and financial statements that have led to special investigations and stock suspensions on national exchanges. Any similar scrutiny of us, regardless of its lack of merit, could result in a diversion of management resources and energy, potential costs to defend ourselves against rumors, decreases and volatility in the ADS trading price, and increased directors and officers insurance premiums, and could have a material adverse effect upon our business, results of operations and financial condition.

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Risks Related to Our ADSs

If the market price for our ADSs falls below US$1.00 for an extended period of time, or falls to US$0.16 at any time, our ADSs may be delisted from the NYSE.

Pursuant to NYSE Rule 802.01C, a company will be considered to be below compliance standards if the average closing price of a security as reported on the consolidated tape is less than US$1.00 over a consecutive 30 trading-day period. Once notified, the company must bring its share price and average share price back above US$1.00 within the applicable cure period following receipt of the notification. The company can regain compliance at any time during the cure period if on the last trading day of any calendar month during the cure period the company has a closing share price of at least US$1.00 and an average closing share price of at least US$1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month. In the event that at the expiration of the cure period, both a US$1.00 closing share price on the last trading day of the cure period and a US$1.00 average closing share price over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of the cure period are not attained, the NYSE will commence suspension and delisting procedures. In addition, we understand that the NYSE has a policy to suspend trading immediately and commence delisting procedures if the market price of securities falls to US$0.16 or less. We received a letter from the NYSE dated April 13, 2020 and further e-mail communication on April 23, 2020, notifying us that (i) we are below compliance standards due to the trading price of our ADSs and (ii) the applicable cure period for us to regain compliance expires on December 22, 2020. In response to the letter and email communication from the NYSE, we changed the ratio of ADSs to our Class A ordinary shares from the previous ADS Ratio of two ADSs to five Class A ordinary shares to a new ADS Ratio of one ADS to 20 Class A ordinary shares, effective October 30, 2020. However, we cannot assure you that our ADSs will remain in compliance with the NYSE listing rules going forward. If our ADSs are delisted from the NYSE, the liquidity and value of an investment in our ADSs will be materially and adversely affected.

The trading price of our ADSs is likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

Since our ADSs became listed on NYSE on November 16, 2017, the trading price of our ADSs has ranged from US$1.36 to US$75.92 per ADS, taking into account retrospective adjustments for the change in the number of Class A ordinary shares represented by each ADS that occurred on October 30, 2020. The trading price of our ADSs is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States. A number of Chinese companies have listed or are in the process of listing their securities on U.S. stock markets. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility, including price declines in connection with their IPOs. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States in general and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance.

In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile for factors specific to our own operations, including the following:

variations in our revenues, earnings and cash flow;
announcements of new investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or joint ventures by us or our competitors;
announcements of new services and expansions by us or our competitors;
announcements of new policies, rules or regulations relating to the internet or the financial services industry in China;
changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;
detrimental adverse publicity about us, our services, our competitors or our industry;
additions or departures of key personnel;
our share repurchase programs;

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litigation, government investigation or other legal or regulatory proceedings;
fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar;
release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities; and
general economic or political conditions in China or elsewhere in the world.

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which our ADSs will trade.

We are named as a defendant in two putative shareholder class action lawsuits in the United States and we may be involved in more class action lawsuits in the future. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.” Such lawsuits could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suits, which could harm our results of operations and our reputation, and could restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if any of these claims is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

It is likely that we will be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for the taxable year ended December 31, 2020, and possibly for the current taxable year and future taxable years, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders of our ADSs or Class A ordinary shares.

A non-U.S. corporation will be classified as a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for any taxable year if either (1) at least 75% of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (2) at least 50% of the value of its assets (based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income. Based on our current and expected income and assets, (including goodwill) and the market price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares during 2020, it is likely that we will be classified as a PFIC for the taxable year ended December 31, 2020. Depending upon the composition of our income and assets and the market price of our ADSs and Class A ordinary shares during 2021 and subsequent taxable years, we could continue to be classified as a PFIC for 2021 and subsequent taxable years. In addition, it is possible that any subsidiary that we own would also be classified as a PFIC for such taxable years.

If we are classified as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds our ADSs or Class A ordinary shares, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to such U.S. Holder. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”

Techniques employed by short sellers may drive down the market price of our ADSs.

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale. As it is in the short seller’s interest for the price of the security to decline, many short sellers publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a security short. These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market.

Public companies listed in the United States that have a substantial majority of their operations in China have been the subject of short selling. Much of the scrutiny and negative publicity has centered on allegations of a lack of effective internal control over financial reporting resulting in financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, inadequate corporate governance policies or a lack of adherence thereto and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result, many of these companies are now conducting internal and external investigations into the allegations and, in the interim, are subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or SEC enforcement actions.

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We may be the subject of unfavorable allegations made by short sellers in the future. Any such allegations may be followed by periods of instability in the market price of our common shares and ADSs and negative publicity. If and when we become the subject of any unfavorable allegations, whether such allegations are proven to be true or untrue, we could have to expend a significant amount of resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend ourselves. While we would strongly defend against any such short seller attacks, we may be constrained in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short seller by principles of freedom of speech, applicable federal or state law or issues of commercial confidentiality. Such a situation could be costly and time-consuming and could distract our management from growing our business. Even if such allegations are ultimately proven to be groundless, allegations against us could severely impact our business operations and shareholders’ equity, and the value of any investment in our ADSs could be greatly reduced or rendered worthless.

Our dual-class share structure with different voting rights will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Immediately prior to the completion of our IPO, we adopted a dual-class share structure such that our ordinary shares consist of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. In respect of matters requiring the votes of shareholders, holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to ten votes per share based on our dual-class share structure. We sold Class A ordinary shares represented by our ADSs in our IPO. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Upon any sale, transfer, assignment or disposition of any Class B ordinary share by a founder to any person who is not a founder affiliate of such founder, or upon a change of ultimate beneficial ownership of any Class B ordinary share from a founder to any person who is not a founder affiliate of such founder, such Class B ordinary share shall be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A ordinary share. In addition, if shares beneficially owned by the founders collectively account for less than five percent (5%) of the issued shares in the capital of the Company, then each Class B ordinary share shall automatically be re-designated into one Class A ordinary share and no Class B ordinary shares shall be issued by the Company thereafter. When a founder ceases to be a director or an executive officer of the Company, each Class B ordinary share beneficially owned by such founder shall automatically be re-designated into one Class A ordinary share.

On July 31, 2018, RONG360 completed the share distribution of our ordinary shares held by it to the existing shareholders of RONG360 in proportion to RONG360’s shareholding structure, and thus completed the Restructuring to strengthen our positioning as an independent open platform. As of August 31, 2021, Mr. Daqing (David) Ye, Mr. Jiayan Lu, Mr. Caofeng Liu and Mr. Chenchao Zhuang hold Class B ordinary shares and beneficially own approximately 76.6% of the aggregate voting power of our company. As a result of the dual-class share structure and the concentration of ownership, holders of our Class B ordinary shares will have considerable influence over matters such as decisions regarding mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. They may take actions that are not in the best interest of us or our other shareholders. We may incur share-based compensation expenses as a result of adopting this dual-class share structure. This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the effect of depriving our other shareholders of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and may reduce the price of our ADSs. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial. In addition, we may incur share-based compensation expenses as a result of adopting this dual-class share structure.

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We cannot guarantee that any share repurchase program will be fully consummated or that any share repurchase program will enhance long-term shareholder value, and share repurchases could increase the volatility of the price of our ADSs and could diminish our cash reserves.

On August 24, 2018, our board of directors authorized a share repurchase program, under which we may repurchase up to US$20 million of our ADSs over the following twelve months through August 24, 2019. On February 22, 2019, our board of directors authorized a new share repurchase program, under which we may repurchase up to US$10 million of our ADSs during the following twelve months through February 22, 2020. The share repurchase programs, authorized by our board of directors, do not obligate us to repurchase any specific dollar amount or to acquire any specific number of ADSs. The share repurchase programs could affect the price of our ADSs and increase volatility and may be suspended or terminated at any time, which may result in a decrease in the trading price of our ADSs. We had accumulatively repurchased approximately US$30 million of ADSs and closed the two share repurchase programs in the third quarter of 2019.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs will be influenced by research or reports that industry or securities analysts publish about our business. If one or more analysts who cover us downgrade our ADSs, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. Our proposed dual-class voting structure gives disproportionate voting power to the Class B ordinary shares. In addition, our board of directors will have the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise. Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Act of the Cayman Islands, as amended, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records (other than the memorandum and articles of associations) or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. If we choose to follow home country practice, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, most of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. All or a substantial portion of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against us, our assets, our directors and officers or their assets.

We have incurred increased costs as a result of being a public company, and the costs may continue to increase in the future.

As a public company, we have incurred significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and the NYSE, impose various requirements on the corporate governance practices of public companies. These rules and regulations increase our legal and financial compliance costs and some corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, in comparison with a private company, we need an increased number of independent directors and have to adopt policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. In addition, we incur additional costs associated with our public company reporting requirements. We expect to continue to incur significant expenses and devote substantial management effort toward ensuring compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the other rules and regulations of the SEC and the NYSE.

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We are named as a defendant in two putative shareholder class action lawsuits in the United States, and we may be involved in more class action lawsuits in the future. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.” Such lawsuits could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations, which could harm our results of operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the lawsuits. Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies.

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;
the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;
the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and
the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

We are required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the NYSE. Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely than that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote your Class A ordinary shares.

As a holder of our ADSs, you will only be able to exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under the deposit agreement, you must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions. You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying shares unless you withdraw the shares. Under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required for convening a general meeting is 14 days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the shares underlying your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific matter. If we ask for your instructions, the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may have no legal remedy if the shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested.

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The depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect your interests.

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, if you do not vote, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings unless:

we have failed to timely provide the depositary with notice of meeting and related voting materials;
we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;
we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting;
a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders; or
the voting at the meeting is to be made on a show of hands.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, you cannot prevent our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above. This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company. Holders of our ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our ordinary shares and you may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to you.

The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying our ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of our ADSs.

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act. The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse. We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

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You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.History and Development of the Company

We commenced our operations in 2011, when Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. was established in preparation for the launch of our platform. Mr. Daqing (David) Ye, the chairman of our board of directors and our chief executive officer, Mr. Jiayan Lu, our chief operating officer, Mr. Caofeng Liu, our chief technology officer, and Mr. Chenchao Zhuang, are our co-founders.

RONG360 Inc. was established in 2012 as the offshore holding company for this business. RONG360 Inc. established RONG360 (Hong Kong) Limited in 2012 as its intermediary holding company. RONG360 (Hong Kong) Limited subsequently established two wholly owned subsidiaries in China in 2012, Beijing Ronglian Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. and Tianjin Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd.

RONG360 Inc. obtained control and became the primary beneficiary of Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. in 2012 by entering into a series of contractual arrangements with it and its shareholders through Beijing Ronglian Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. Due to the PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership of internet-based businesses, RONG360 has relied on these contractual arrangements to conduct a significant part of its operations in China.

We began operating our platform by introducing loan recommendation services in the first quarter of 2012. We subsequently introduced credit card recommendation services in the third quarter of 2013 and wealth management information services in the second quarter of 2014. We introduced our risk management services and solutions in the second quarter of 2015 and developed our SaaS-based end-to-end solutions in 2016.

In addition to our current business which was transferred to us as part of the Restructuring, RONG360 operated a digital lending business starting in 2015, which offers its own consumer credit products to borrowers by performing credit assessment and credit decisioning of these borrowers and facilitating funding from third-party financial service providers.

On June 1, 2017, RONG360 Inc. established a wholly owned subsidiary, Jianpu Technology Inc., in the Cayman Islands. On June 19, 2017, Jianpu Technology Inc. established a wholly owned subsidiary, Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited, in Hong Kong. RDD was established on March 3, 2017 as a wholly owned PRC subsidiary of Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. and Beijing Ronglian Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd., and RONG360 (Hong Kong) Limited established Beijing Rongqiniu Information Technology Co., Ltd., or RQN, on August 21, 2017, as a sino-foreign joint venture under PRC law. Immediately after RQN was established, RQN entered into a series of variable interest entity arrangements with RDD and its then sole shareholder, Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd.

Pursuant to a series of agreements entered into in connection with the Restructuring, all the operating assets and liabilities relating to our current business operations, which are all of the business operations operated by RONG360 prior to the Restructuring other than the digital lending business, were transferred to the new group. Specifically, Beijing Ronglian Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. entered into agreements to transfer its related assets and liabilities to RQN, and Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. entered into agreements to transfer its related assets and liabilities to RDD. RONG360 Inc. has provided RMB150 million of initial working capital to us in the form of a capital contribution.

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All equity interests in RQN held by Beijing Ronglian Shiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. and RONG360 (Hong Kong) Limited were transferred to Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited. As a result, RQN is wholly owned by Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited. Beijing Rongshiji Information Technology Co., Ltd. transferred its equity interests in RDD to three individual shareholders.

After the foregoing, Jianpu Technology Inc. is our holding company in the Cayman Islands. A wholly owned subsidiary of Jianpu Technology Inc., Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited, is our intermediary holding company in Hong Kong. Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited has one wholly owned subsidiary in China, RQN.

On November 16, 2017, our ADSs commenced trading on the NYSE under the symbol “JT.” We raised approximately US$204.9 million (approximately equivalent to RMB1,358.0 million) in net proceeds from the issuance of new shares from the IPO and concurrent private placements after deducting underwriting commissions and the offering expenses payable by us. On October 30, 2020, we changed the ratio of ADSs to Class A ordinary shares (the “ADS Ratio”) from two ADSs to five Class A ordinary shares to one ADS to 20 Class A ordinary shares. Except as otherwise indicated, all ADS and per ADS data in this annual report give retroactive effect to the ADS Ratio of one ADS to 20 Class A ordinary shares.

On July 31, 2018, RONG360 completed the share distribution of our ordinary shares held by it to the existing shareholders of RONG360 in proportion to RONG360’s shareholding structure, and thus completed the Restructuring to strengthen our positioning as an independent open platform.

From 2018 until now, we have set up and acquired several subsidiaries and variable interest entities to support our business growth in China and overseas. We introduced our insurance brokerage business after completing the acquisition of an insurance brokerage license at the end of 2019. Through the acquisition of 50.5% of equity interests in Newsky Wisdom Treasure (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (“Newsky Wisdom”) in 2020, we have been providing system-based total solutions to our financial service providers. In addition, we acquired majority of equity interest in a Hong Kong based independent digital media platform in 2019 and secured 3 registrations in respect of financial marketplace, credit scoring and eKYC in Indonesia in 2020 and 2021. For more details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.”

Our principal executive offices are located at 21/F Internet Finance Center, Danling Street, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86-10-8302-3688. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Sertus Incorporations (Cayman) Limited, Sertus Chambers, Governors Square, Suite #5-204, 23 Lime Tree Bay Avenue, P.O. Box 2547, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., located at 801 2nd Avenue, Suite 403, New York, NY 10017. We maintain our web site at ir.jianpu.ai.

The SEC maintains a web site at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC using its EDGAR system.

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Capital Expenditures” for a discussion of our capital expenditures.

BBusiness Overview

We are a leading independent open platform for discovery and recommendation of financial products in China. We connect users with financial service providers in a convenient, efficient and secure way. By leveraging our proprietary technology, we provide users with customized search results and recommendations tailored to each user’s particular financial needs and profile. We also enable financial service providers with sales and marketing solutions to reach and serve their target customers more effectively through integrated channels and enhance their competitiveness by providing them with tailored data, risk management services and solutions. We are committed to maintaining an independent open platform, which allows us to serve the needs of users and financial service providers impartially.

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As an open platform, we have access to data from users, financial service providers and third-party data partners with their respective consent. Our data analytics and proprietary technology enable us to conduct extensive analysis and offer valuable services to both users and financial service providers. These capabilities drive product recommendations for users and support credit analysis, credit underwriting, fraud detection and prevention for financial service providers. Our proprietary technology enables us to match users with the appropriate financial products and to help financial service providers better target and serve users. We have been continually improving our advanced matching capability by leveraging artificial intelligence (“AI”), data science and analytics, cloud computing, machine learning and other technologies.

Our users have convenient access to a wide variety of financial products on our platform, including credit cards, loans, insurance products, and other financial products. We are able to identify and recommend the most suitable products for each user’s specific financial circumstances from a wide selection of products with different operational requirements and geographic coverage offered by financial service providers. Users can easily compare the terms and conditions of financial products from different financial service providers on our platform. Because consumers in China lack understanding of the increasingly complicated financial products available on the market, we enable them to access a wide range of information and content on our platform and through other channels, including short videos, online articles, social networks, and offline booklets and handouts. Our content educates and provides valuable information to users to make more informed financial decisions, serves as a reference point for financial institutions and is widely reported by the media and other institutions.

A large and diverse group of financial service providers offer a wide variety of financial products nationwide on our platform. We have invested ten years in building our stable and strong network from the ground up as most traditional financial institutions in China only operate within specific geographic areas or conduct their business on a city-by-city basis, with localized business strategies and operational requirements. We provide sales and marketing solutions to financial service providers to help them acquire customers through integrated channels, and enable them with data and risk management services and solutions.

We primarily generate our revenue from fees that we charge financial service providers or their agents for recommendation services for loan and credit card products on a cost-per-action basis or cost-per-success basis, and from commissions from insurance companies for insurance products brokerage service as a pre-agreed percentage of the insurance premium. We also offer financial service providers big data and risk management services and solutions and software as a service, or SaaS-based solutions.

We launched our online platform with loan products recommendation services in the first quarter of 2012, and introduced credit card recommendation services in the third quarter of 2013. In the fourth quarter of 2019, we further diversified the types of financial products on our platform by introducing insurance products. We introduced our risk management services and solutions in the second quarter of 2015, and enriched our SaaS-based modules and provided system-based total solutions in 2019 and 2020. We started to expand our footprints to outside of mainland China, including Hong Kong and Southeast Asia in 2019.

Our Open Platform

We operate an independent open platform for the discovery and recommendation of financial products in China. Financial service providers offer a wide variety of financial products on our platform, including credit cards, loan products, insurance products and other financial products. In addition to matching users to financial products, we provide a wide range of services and solutions to financial service providers on our platform, including sales and marketing solutions and big data and system-based risk management services and solutions. Moreover, we provide extensive professional content on financial products, industry insights, financial education and consumer rights protection in many forms, including short videos, online articles and offline booklets and handouts.

Financial Products on Our Platform

Our platform has different kinds of financial products including credit cards, loans, insurance products and other financial products. All of the financial products on our platform are offered and sold by financial service providers. Depending on our arrangement with the respective financial service provider, applications for financial products may be hosted on our platform or referred to the financial service provider’s platform.

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Credit Card Products

We introduced credit card recommendation services on our platform in the third quarter of 2013. We provide recommendation services in respect of credit card products offered by credit card issuers or their agents. Credit card products vary greatly, including by issuer, payment network, credit tier, card alliance, loyalty program and specialty purpose. Due to the mass customization, it can be difficult for consumers to navigate the large selection of credit card products and identify the ones suitable for their needs. We believe that our recommendation engine empowers users to discover suitable credit card products in an efficient way. Our platform features credit card offers from major issuers and popular credit cards targeting different user groups and lifestyles. Besides regular credit cards, our platform also provides recommendations of specialty theme cards such as travels cards, female lifestyle cards, cards tailored for online shopping and virtual credit cards.

As the largest independent online credit card application platform in China, we had facilitated the issuance of over 20 million credit cards accumulatively as of December 31, 2020. We have cooperated with 41 credit card issuers that accept online applications in China, including certain state-owned banks, joint-stock banks, and city and urban commercial banks. Our credit card recommendation services revenue is generally determined on a cost-per-success basis, where the success is most often defined as the issuance of a credit card and in other cases by the completion of an application or the first usage of a credit card, depending on the issuer’s policy. Our credit card recommendation services revenue accounted for 50.3% of our total revenues for 2020, and our credit card volume in 2020, which is our measure of the number of credit cards we generated revenues from, was approximately 2.8 million as of December 31, 2020.

We started providing credit card recommendation services in Hong Kong after completing the acquisition of 55% of equity interests in a Hong Kong-based independent digital media platform specializing in the field of financial services in 2019.

Loan products

We launched our platform with loan recommendation services in the first quarter of 2012. The majority of loan products on our platform are consumer loans, covering a wide variety of personal consumption needs and other personal expenses. We also have SMEs loans which are primarily applied for general business purposes for small businesses, such as starting up or expanding their operations, purchasing inventory or meeting day-to-day expenses.

We have attracted a large and diversified group of financial service providers to our platform, including banks, consumer finance companies and other licensed financial institutions in China. As of December 31, 2020, over 1,300 financial service providers offered loan products on our platform.

Starting at the end of 2019, we started to offer loan recommendation services in Southeast Asia. We applied our successful experiences and mature business model in China to the overseas market and cooperated with dozens of financial service providers in 2020. In 2020, approximately 14.3% of our revenue generated from loan products recommendations were from overseas markets.

We primarily generate our revenue from fees that we charge financial service providers for recommendation services for loan products on a cost-per-action basis, where the action is generally determined by a user’s completion of a loan application on our platform. We also had a small portion of loan recommendation services revenue recorded based on a pre-agreed percentage of loan principal amount underwritten by the financial service providers. In 2020, revenue generated from our loan recommendation services amounted to RMB109.8 million (US$16.8 million) and accounted for 18.7% of our total revenues.

Insurance products

To diversify the financial products categories on our platform, we introduced insurance brokerage services under the brand name Anguo Insurance Brokerage after completing the acquisition of a licensed insurance brokerage company in China in the fourth quarter of 2019. We have an experienced insurance broker team and distribute a wide range of insurance products underwritten by insurance companies we cooperate with. The insurance products we distribute can be categorized into two major categories: life and health insurance products, and non-life insurance products. In 2020, revenue generated from our insurance brokerage services accounted for 2.8% of our total revenues.

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We, together with the individual brokers registered on our platform, distribute insurance products underwritten by insurance companies operating in China to our users. We have an extensive independent insurance product distribution network with 2,000 brokers in 17 provinces in China as of December 31, 2020. We do not assume underwriting risks for the insurance products we distribute. We are compensated for our services by commissions paid by insurance companies, typically based on a percentage of the premium paid by the insured. As of the date of this annual report, we cooperate with close to 200 insurance companies and their agents selling insurance products in China, and therefore are able to offer a variety of insurance products to our users.

We provide our individual brokers with intelligent business tools, effective user acquisition channels, professional career training and comprehensive customer service. Our technology platform enables intelligent deal management to help our individual brokers find the insurance products that best match users’ needs and streamline and expedite transaction processes. The distribution and service network built upon our technology platform provides an effective channel for us, together with our individual brokers, to engage with and serve our users.

Other financial products

We introduced wealth management information services to our platform in the second quarter of 2014. Unlike with loans and credit cards, our users are investors rather than borrowers in relation to wealth management products, so we provide them with information about the terms and conditions of the products and the relative credit risk of the different financial service providers that offer the products. While users can obtain information on wealth management products on our platform, we have made a deliberate choice not to host purchases of these products on our platform, due in part to regulatory uncertainty, potential investment risk for our users and the potential impact on our brand. We provide content and information related to financial products on our platform not for monetization purpose.

Our Users

Our users are predominately individual consumers, though they also include many sole proprietors and SMEs. Users can efficiently browse the different financial products offered by financial service providers on our platform based on their specific needs. Through our search and recommendation engine, we match and recommend financial products to our users based on their different needs.

The Discovery and Recommendation Process for Financial Products

Users can discover different types of financial products and various terms specific to that type of financial products on our platform. For each user, our platform will generate a set of impartial recommendations based on the user’s profile and financial needs and the financial service provider’s product criteria, focusing on certainty, speed, convenience and terms. Our recommendation engine ranks the products using a complex algorithm that takes into account a number of factors, including the likelihood of application approval, how competitive the term is and whether other users were satisfied with the financial service provider in the past.

The Application and Approval Process

The application process depends on the type of financial product and the financial service provider selected by the user. Application approval time varies with the type of financial service provider and the terms of the financial product.

Our platform has three different models for the approval process of financial products.

Online approval. For most credit card applications and some loan applications, we generate click-throughs for financial service providers. We refer the user directly to their website. The application, decisioning and approval process are completed on the financial service provider’s online platform.
Offline approval. For loan products offered by traditional financial service providers, the user’s application typically is referred to a loan sales representative at the financial service provider, who normally contacts the user offline to explain what other steps need to be taken to complete the application. The user then relies on the loan sales representative for assistance with the rest of the application and approval process.

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End-to-end approval. For some loan products, the entire application-to-approval process is hosted on our platform. Users are supported by our platform throughout the lifetime of a financial product, including submitting the application and related documents, receiving notification of approval and making payments.

User Service Center

Our user service center provides live assistance to our users with a combination of automated programs and service representatives. Users can contact our user service center by telephone or through social media platforms. Our user service representatives help users understand financial products, follow up on financial product application status and collect user feedback on their experience with financial service providers. If a user appears interested in a product but leaves our platform without completing an application, our user service center may contact the user to collect feedback and encourage the user to submit an application and even help the user to complete the application form. We recruit user service representatives with substantial experience in supporting users on their financial product queries. Each representative is required to complete mandatory training conducted by experienced managers on financial products knowledge and communication skills. While we have outsourced some of our user services, we have provided training through our own employees to ensure quality service.

Marketing and User Acquisition

We employ a variety of marketing methods to promote our platform and acquire users. In addition to content driven organic traffic, we conduct marketing through various channels, including online, mobile and social media platforms. Our marketing team works closely with our sales and business development team and utilizes our proprietary data analytical capabilities to conduct cost-efficient marketing. Our online third-party marketing channels include search engines, news feeds, social networking platforms, and app stores, and we incur traffic acquisition expenses. Our marketing channels also include business partners from our Social Media and Partner Program and individual insurance brokers. Our Social Media and Partner Program facilitates an extensive distribution and service network for us to sell complex financial products and better serve our users.

We leverage social networks and social media platforms as an effective and efficient tool for user acquisition and engagement. We introduced a cooperation system called the Social Media and Partner Program in the third quarter of 2018, through which our users may register as our business partners to recommend the financial products on our platform to their social contacts through social network and social media platform, and are rewarded according to our incentive policies.

The Social Media and Partner Program has been very effective in user acquisition and engagement, and is particularly effective in the recommendation of credit card products on our platform to new users. In 2020, approximately 66% of the credit card volume on our platform were contributed by the Social Media and Partner Program.

The Social Media and Partner Program has lowered our total customer acquisition cost while the cost of online advertising has been continuously increasing. We are able to effectively attract prospective users and develop customer loyalty due to our proven brand reputation and operating history. In the future, we will continue to recruit and retain business partners through our open platform and conduct product and compliance training for business partners to ensure an efficient and compliant customer acquisition practice. We plan to continue to leverage the Social Media and Partner Program for user acquisition as we expand into other financial product categories and new businesses.

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Content

Our platform provides rich and professional content to our users as a way of driving user engagement and cultivating user loyalty. We have a wealth of data about a wide range of financial products on our platform and we empower users to compare and contrast different products within and across product categories. We also provide a variety of third-party information on the subjects of personal finances, wealth management and financial planning. In addition, we have a dedicated team that creates additional content for our platform that is used by academic institutions, industry experts and government bodies. For example, we have issued a series of reports and analyses related to mortgages, consumer loans, consumer finance asset-backed securities, the consumer finance industry, etc. Content is available in a number of forms including short videos, Vlogs, cartoons, online articles and offline booklets and handouts, and we distribute our content through a third-party syndicated content network that includes CCTV, Xinhua Finance, ChinaNews, People’s Daily Online, Yahoo Finance, Southern Metropolis Daily, etc., as well as Tencent’s Wechat social media platform, Kwai’s video platform and Toutiao’s news and information mobile app. We believe that our content library attracts both existing and potential users to our platform and complements our other channels for attracting user traffic.

Financial Service Providers

We have attracted a large and diversified group of financial service providers to our platform, including banks, consumer finance companies, insurance companies and other licensed financial companies in China. As of December 31, 2020, over 1,700 financial service providers offered a wide variety of financial products on our platform.

We have established a very strong cooperative relationship with credit card issuing banks. As of December 31, 2020, we had cooperated with 41 credit card issuers that accept online applications in China, including state-owned banks, joint-stock banks and city and urban commercial banks. Since 2018, we have also broadened and diversified our credit card partners network to include more of the banks’ local branches and authorized partners. With years of experiences in loan recommendation services, we have attracted diversified financial service providers offering loan products, including banks, consumer finance companies, micro-loan companies and other licensed financial institutions, as well as their sales representatives. We cooperate with close to 200 insurance companies and their agents in the distribution of over 1,800 insurance products in China. The types of insurance products available on our platform include life insurance and non-life insurance.

Leveraging our proprietary technology, we are able to accurately draw customers’ profiles and screen the most suitable customers for financial service providers. We have also established a seamless connection between our platform and financial service providers, where customers’ information and analysis can be accessed and evaluated from both sides with mutually agreed standards, which results in a highly efficient process.

Our Services and Solutions

Leveraging our proprietary technology and experience in the finance industry, we are always committed to enabling the financial service providers to better reach and serve users with financial needs, enhance risk management capabilities, and achieve higher operational efficiency.

Sales and marketing solutions and advertising services

Our platform provides efficient and effective sales and marketing solutions to financial service providers. We perform an initial screening of users based on information provided by the user or otherwise obtained with the user’s permission. We check for patterns of suspicious activity or information that is not consistent or appears to be fabricated. We synthesize information from our users with data from financial service providers and third-party data partners to build up a user profile for each user. This allows us to match users with financial products and allocate users to financial service providers.

Risk management services and solutions

We introduced our risk management services and solutions in 2015. We leverage our big data technology to provide one-stop, cost-effective and diversified risk management services and solutions to financial service providers. Through collaborations with users, financial service provides and third-party data partners, we have authorized access to a wide variety of information.

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Our risk management services and solutions range from simple to highly integrated:

Data solutions. We provide data products to financial service providers to enhance their data and risk-management capabilities by leveraging information that we have access to.
Modeling solutions. At the next level, we provide tailored modeling solutions that the financial service provider can use to analyze the data. The modeling solutions can be used in credit assessment and credit decisioning.
Total solutions. Our risk management services and solutions can be fully integrated into the financial service provider’s own system and used as end-to-end solutions. Our goal is to provide financial service providers with an integrated solution encompassing product design, user acquisition, marketing, risk management and user services.

SaaS-based and system-based solution

We developed our SaaS-based end-to-end solutions in 2016 to empower financial service providers to migrate their entire service process onto our platform, rather than only referring users to the financial institution’s platform at an early stage in the application process. We further updated our SaaS modules in 2020, which allows financial service providers to conveniently manage acquisition efficiency, borrower screening and assessment in a comprehensive manner. As a technology-empowered digital platform, we are able to provide other functional SaaS modules that can fit into the operational procedures of financial service providers backed by our in-depth understanding of their processes and needs. In 2019, we started to offer our risk management services and solutions to financial service providers overseas in Southeast Asia, providing end-to-end integrated solutions to empower inclusive financing businesses.

Some traditional financial service providers, including banks, do not possess the technology infrastructure to acquire and serve their customers through online and mobile channels. Through the acquisition of Newsky Wisdom, we provide system-based total solutions to help our banking partners to build and boost digital capabilities so that they could better serve more consumers with financial needs.

In addition, we have expanded our services and solutions to regulators to help them better monitor financial activities on financial products regarding compliance requirements.

Screening of financial service providers and financial products

We screen the financial products that are offered on our platform based on the financial service provider’s licensing status, the suitability of the products for our users, the creditworthiness of the financial service provider, the quality of the customer service provided by the financial service provider, the terms and conditions of the financial products and other factors. One major step in the screening of financial products is examining and verifying the qualifications of the financial service providers that offer them. We examine their business licenses, the qualification certificates for their products and their reputation in the industry and make inquiries about the market acceptance of their financial products. As a part of our internal control process, we conduct our own due diligence on financial service providers and maintain a whitelist of financial service providers based on our verification results. We typically enter into framework agreements of fixed terms with financial service providers and renew them periodically if the relationship continues to be satisfactory. Starting in 2019, we regularly conduct random checks and screenings of our existing financial service provider partners during the term of our cooperation with them to ensure the continual suitability of their financial products for our users, including re-examining their business licenses, the qualification certificates for their products and their current business operation status. We also constantly monitor user feedback of each financial product and financial service provider as well as other related public social indicators to ensure that we can promptly identify and deal with risky financial products and financial service providers.

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Sales and Business Development

We have built a sales and business development team with extensive experience in both the financial service and internet industries. This team is dedicated to establishing long-term relationships with financial service providers, understanding and anticipating their needs and identifying opportunities for them to adopt our services and solutions. As we strengthen our relationship with financial service providers and understand more about their strategies and policies, we have the opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell additional services and solutions and offer our integrated solutions. Our sales and business development team works closely with financial service providers and continually gains insights into the competitive dynamics of the industry and new market opportunities. These insights help our other departments develop new solutions and technologies and offer new content and features on our platform.

We have sales and business development personnel based at our headquarters in Beijing, at our regional offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen and a dozen tier-2 cities in China. This allows our sales and business development team to be in close contact with the research and development team and operations team at our headquarters to maintain a coherent sales and business development strategy. The sales and business development personnel at our regional offices focus on catering and understanding local market requirements, which helps the other teams at our headquarters remain abreast of developments with financial service providers in different regions in China.

Data and Technology

We have built our technology infrastructure relying primarily on proprietary software and systems and to a lesser extent on third-party software that we have modified and incorporated. Our advanced technology is vital in supporting our discovery and recommendation-based open platform for financial products.

As an open platform, we have access to data from users, financial service providers and third-party data partners obtained with their respective consent. Our data modeling and analytical capabilities drive product recommendations and analyses for users and support credit underwriting and fraud detection and prevention for financial service providers.

We are committed to protecting user data in our business and operations. We use encrypted storage of sensitive data, including data loss prevention solutions. Our network is configured with multiple layers of protection to protect our databases from unauthorized access, and we use sophisticated security protocols for communications between applications. We continually improve and enhance our data and system security through routine checks and timely upgrades.

Data Analysis and Compliance

Data sources. Users provide us information with consent when they register on our platform and when they apply for financial products through our platform. We have authorized data on applications, approvals and credit performance from financial service providers. We also collaborate with third-party data partners with respect to data obtained with users’ permission.

Infrastructure and modeling and algorithm support. The real-time decision and fast iteration of our big data model is well supported by our big data infrastructure and algorithms. Our data platform can extract multi-dimensional features from multi-source data in a highly efficient and secure way to support modeling. We use a graph database to support the calculation of billions of data items on social network relationships. We adopt a framework of streaming computing to support real-time updates to our data and model. As a result, our big data model can complete decisions within milliseconds after a user uploads or updates his application materials.

Compliance and user privacy protection. We have consistently strived to comply with data protection laws and regulations in China and explored data encryption and safe storage for our user privacy protection. We have certified in the Zhuoxin (Advanced Information Security) Big Data Program led by the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology which is poised to establish a comprehensive data governance ecosystem and help enterprises step up their data security capabilities. Our big data and risk management service platform has been recognized at the third level of the cybersecurity protection system. In addition, we have set up a dedicated unit and recruiting security professionals, and in order to safeguard the security and reliability of data in service, we build a full spectrum of cybersecurity operations throughout physical security, network security, server security, application security, data security and security policy. We always adopt stringent management measures and technology-powered mechanisms throughout the entire data life cycle to ensure data security and compliance.

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Search and Recommendation Technology

Advanced search engine. We developed our sophisticated search engine based on our deep understanding of the characteristics of financial products and the needs of our users. Our search engine is able to identify users’ search intent through user profiling and data mining technology and generate personalized search results within milliseconds through real-time indexing technology. Based on real-time reinforcement learning on users’ search behavior, the search engine can intelligently adjust the ranking of search results and support secondary searches within the existing search results. We believe that our advanced search engine meets the advanced and complex search needs of our users.

Personalized smart recommendation system. Our personalized smart recommendation system is designed to help users increase the success rate of financial product applications, help financial service providers increase their approval rates for financial products and reduce the overall service costs of distributing financial products. We have built our recommendation model through machine learning by synthesizing a wide variety of data from financial service providers, including encrypted data on user profiles, user application histories and feedback on user approvals. The model can predict the success rate of a user’s application for each financial product and estimate the credit limit that the user can obtain. This allows us to make accurate and personalized recommendations of financial products to our users.

Brand Recognition

The “RONG360” brand is well recognized as an intelligent mobile platform for financial products in China. We plan to continue to use the “RONG360” brand for our platform in China. Our mascot Rong Bulls in eight colors represents the diversity of our service offerings to both users and financial service providers.

We employ a variety of marketing methods to promote our image as a reliable, smart and accessible platform. See “—Our Open Platform—Our Users—Marketing and User Acquisition.”

We are a standing member of the National Internet Finance Association of China, the Beijing Internet Finance Association and the Zhongguancun Internet Finance Association and the Zhongguancun Modern Information Consumer Application Industry Technology Alliance. We are also a member of the Internet Society of China, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, the Beijing Communication Industry Association, the Beijing Zhongguancun High-Tech Enterprises Association and the Shanghai Foreign Investment Association.

Competition

We are an open and independent platform, and our competitors are primarily other companies that also seek to position themselves as open platforms connecting both financial service providers and users primarily in the loan and credit card recommendation businesses. We also compete with platforms that are affiliated with major internet companies, including search engine, social media, e-commerce and online payment companies. Some of these internet companies also offer their financial products on our platform and provide us with user traffic, so they both compete and cooperate with us. In addition, we compete with financial service providers to the extent that they offer or list financial products on their own platform, although some of these financial service providers may also offer or list financial products on our platform as well. We believe that network effects will benefit whichever platform gains a significant first mover advantage in this field, and that it will be difficult for latecomers to establish relationships with financial service providers or, more importantly, to generate sufficient user traffic.

Seasonality

Our revenue and operating results have fluctuated in the past from quarter to quarter due in part to seasonal variations in demand for financial products. Typically, our revenue is lowest in the first quarter of the year, in part due to the reduced level of borrowing activities during the Chinese New Year holiday, and highest in the fourth quarter of the year. However, due to our limited operating history, the seasonal trends that we have experienced in the past may not apply to, or be indicative of, our future operating results. For example, in 2020, our revenue was highest in the first quarter with decreases in revenue in each subsequent quarter, which was primarily due to the continuous decreases in revenues from recommendation services for loan products, resulting from the continuous decreases in the number of financial products available on our platform given the credit tightening and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Intellectual Property

We seek to protect our technology, including our proprietary technology infrastructure and core software system, through a combination of copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and confidentiality agreements. As of December 31, 2020, we hold or otherwise have legal right to use 161 registered copyrights for software or work of art, 192 registered domain names, including rong360.com, and 72 registered trademarks, including “Rong360.”

We intend to protect our technology and proprietary rights vigorously, but there can be no assurance that our efforts will be successful. Even if our efforts are successful, we may incur significant costs in defending our rights. From time to time, third parties may initiate litigation against us alleging infringement of their proprietary rights or declaring their non-infringement of our intellectual property rights. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—We may not be able to prevent others from making unauthorized use of our intellectual property” and “—We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may be expensive to defend and may disrupt our business and operations.”

Insurance

We do not maintain business interruption insurance or general third-party liability insurance, nor do we maintain property insurance, product liability insurance or key-man insurance. We consider our insurance coverage to be reasonable in light of the nature of our business and the insurance products that are available in China and in line with the practices of other companies in the same industry of similar size in China.

Regulation

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant rules and regulations that affect our business activities in China or the rights of our shareholders to receive dividends and other distributions from us.

Regulations Related to Internet Information Security and Privacy Protection

The PRC government has enacted laws and regulations with respect to internet information security and protection of personal information from any inappropriate collection activities abuse or unauthorized disclosure. Internet information in China is regulated and restricted from a national security standpoint. PRC laws impose criminal penalties for any effort to: (i) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (ii) disseminate politically disruptive information; (iii) leak state secrets; (iv) spread false commercial information; or (v) infringe intellectual property rights. In addition, the Ministry of Public Security has promulgated measures prohibiting use of the internet in ways which result in a leak of state secrets or a spread of socially destabilizing content, among other things. If an internet information service provider violates any of these measures, competent authorities may revoke its operating license and shut down its websites.

Internet security in China is also regulated and restricted from a national security standpoint. On July 1, 2015, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee promulgated the National Security Law, which took effect on the same date and replaced the former National Security Law promulgated in 1993. According to the National Security Law, the state shall ensure that the information system and data in important areas are secure and controllable. In addition, according to the National Security Law, the state shall establish national security review and supervision institutions and mechanisms, and conduct national security reviews of key technologies and IT products and services that affect or may affect national security. There are uncertainties on how the National Security Law will be implemented in practice.

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The PRC Cybersecurity Law, which was promulgated in November 2016 and took effect on June 1, 2017, requires a network operator, including internet information services providers among others, to adopt technical measures and other necessary measures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations as well as compulsory national and industrial standards to safeguard the safety and stability of network operations, effectively respond to network security incidents, prevent illegal and criminal activities, and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of network data. The Cybersecurity Law emphasizes that any individuals and organizations that use networks must not endanger network security or use networks to engage in unlawful activities such as those endangering national security, economic order and the social order or infringing the reputation, privacy, intellectual property rights and other lawful rights and interests of others. The Cybersecurity Law has also reaffirmed certain basic principles and requirements on personal information protection previously specified in other existing laws and regulations, including those described above. Any violation of the provisions and requirements under the Cybersecurity Law may subject an internet service provider to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancellation of filings, closedown of websites or even criminal liabilities.

On November 15, 2018, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued the Provisions on Security Assessment of the Internet Information Services with Public Opinion Attributes or Social Mobilization Capacity, which came into effect on November 30, 2018. The provisions require internet services providers to conduct security assessments on their Internet information services if their services include functions that provide channels for the public to express opinions or have the capability of mobilizing the public to engage in specific activities. Internet services providers must conduct self-assessment on, among other things, the legality of new technology involved in the services and the effectiveness of security risk prevention measures, and file the assessment report with the local competent cyberspace administration authority and public security authority.

On April 13, 2020, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the NDRC, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and several other governmental authorities jointly issued the Measures for Cybersecurity Review, or the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which came into effect on June 1, 2020. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, the purchase of cyber products and services including core network equipment, high-performance computers and servers, mass storage devices, large databases and application software, network security equipment, cloud computing services, and other products and services that have an important impact on the security of critical information infrastructure which affects or may affect national security is subject to cybersecurity review by the Cybersecurity Review Office. The Cyberspace Administration is responsible for organizing and implementing cybersecurity reviews, while the competent departments in key industries such as finance, telecommunications, energy and transport shall be responsible for organizing and implementing security review of cyber products and services in their respective industries or fields.

On June 10, 2021, the SCNPC promulgated the Data Security Law which will take effect in September 2021. The Data Security Law provides for data security and privacy obligations on entities and individuals carrying out data activities. The Data Security Law also introduces a data classification and hierarchical protection system based on the importance of data in economic and social development, as well as the degree of harm it will cause to national security, public interests, or legitimate rights and interests of individuals or organizations when such data is tampered with, destroyed, leaked, or illegally acquired or used, and appropriate level of protection measures is required to be taken for the respective categories of data, for example, the processor of important data shall designate the personnel and management institution responsible for the data security, carry out risk assessment for its data processing activities and file the risk assessment report with the competent authorities. In addition, the Data Security Law provides a national security review procedure for those data activities which may affect national security and imposes export restrictions on certain data and information. As the Data Security Law was recently promulgated and has not yet taken effect, we may be required to make further adjustments to our business practices to comply with the effective law.

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On August 17, 2021, the State Council promulgated the Security Protection Regulations for Critical Information Infrastructures, which will take effect on September 1, 2021 and provide that “critical information infrastructures” refer to those including important network facilities and information systems involved in important industries and fields such as public communication and information services, energy, transportation, water conservancy, finance, public services, e-government, national defense related science and technology industry, and other important industries and those which may seriously endanger national security, national economy and people’s livelihood and public interests if they are damaged, malfunctioned, or if relevant data leakage occurs. Pursuant to these regulations, the competent governmental authorities and supervision and management departments of the abovementioned important industries and fields, being the protection departments, are responsible for formulating the rules on identifying the critical information infrastructures and organizing to identify such critical information infrastructures in the related industries and fields, taking into account the factors including (i) the importance of the network facilities, information systems, etc., to the critical and core businesses in this industry and field; (ii) the degree of damage that may be caused by such network facilities, information systems, etc., if they are destroyed, malfunctioned, or relevant data leakage occurs; (iii) the relevant influence on other industries and fields. In addition, the regulations further require the operators of critical information infrastructures, among others, (i) to report to the competent protection authorities in a timely manner when the identification result may be affected due to material changes in the critical information infrastructure; (ii) to plan, construct or put into use the security protection measures and the critical information infrastructure simultaneously; and (iii) to report to the competent protection authorities in a timely manner in the event of merger, division or dissolution, and deal with critical information infrastructure as required by the competent protection authorities. In addition, the regulations reiterate that the operators of critical information infrastructures shall give priority to purchasing secure and credible network products and services, and if purchasing such network products and services may affect national security, they shall pass a security review in accordance with the network security regulations. Operators in violation of the regulations may be ordered to rectify, subject to warnings, fines and other administrative penalties or even criminal liabilities, and the directly responsible personnel in charge may also be imposed on fines or other liabilities.

Under the Several Provisions on Regulating the Market Order of Internet Information Services, issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2011, an internet information service provider may not collect any personal information on a user or provide any such information to third parties without the user’s consent. It must expressly inform the user of the method, content and purpose of the collection and processing of such user’s personal information and may only collect information to the extent necessary to provide its services. An internet information service provider is also required to properly maintain users’ personal information, and in case of any leak or likely leak of such information, it must take immediate remedial measures and, in the event of a serious leak, report to the telecommunications regulatory authority immediately.

Pursuant to the Decision on Strengthening the Protection of Online Information, issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 2012, and the Order for the Protection of Telecommunication and Internet User Personal Information, issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2013, any collection and use of a user’s personal information must be subject to the consent of the user, be legal, rational and necessary and be limited to specified purposes, methods and scopes. An internet information service provider must also keep such information strictly confidential, and is further prohibited from divulging, tampering or destroying any such information, or selling or providing such information to other parties. An internet information service provider is required to take technical and other measures to prevent the collected personal information from any unauthorized disclosure, damage or loss. Any violation of these laws and regulations may subject the internet information service provider to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancelation of filings, closedown of websites or even criminal liabilities.

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Pursuant to the Notice of the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security on Legally Punishing Criminal Activities Infringing upon the Personal Information of Citizens, issued in 2013, and the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues regarding Legal Application in Criminal Cases Infringing upon the Personal Information of Citizens, which was issued on May 8, 2017 and took effect on June 1, 2017, the following activities may constitute the crime of infringing upon a citizen’s personal information: (i) providing a citizen’s personal information to specified persons or releasing a citizen’s personal information online or through other methods in violation of relevant national provisions; (ii) providing legitimately collected information relating to a citizen to others without such citizen’s consent (unless the information is processed, not traceable to a specific person and not recoverable); (iii) collecting a citizen’s personal information in violation of applicable rules and regulations when performing a duty or providing services; or (iv) collecting a citizen’s personal information by purchasing, accepting or exchanging such information in violation of applicable rules and regulations. In addition, according to the Interpretations of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues concerning the Application of the Law in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Crimes of Illegally Using the Information Network or Providing Aid for Criminal Activities regarding Information Network issued on October 21, 2019 and taking effect on November 1, 2019, a violator refusing to perform the obligation of safety management for the information network, causing the disclosure of user information, and falling under one of the following circumstances shall be deemed “causing serious consequences” as prescribed under the PRC Criminal Law: (i) causing the disclosure of not less than 500 pieces of location information, communication content, credit information, and property information; (ii) causing the disclosure of not less than 5,000 pieces of accommodation information, communication records, health and physiological information, transaction information and other user information that may affect personal or property safety; (iii) causing the disclosure of not less than 50,000 pieces of user information other than the information set forth in items (i) and (ii); (iv) causing the disclosure of user information which quantity does not meet the standards set forth in items (i), (ii) and (iii), but meets the relevant quantity standards after conversion at the corresponding proportion in aggregate; (v) causing deaths, serious injuries, mental disorders or kidnapping of others, or other serious consequences; (vi) causing material economic losses; (vii) seriously disturbing the social order; or (viii) causing other serious consequences.

On November 28, 2019, the Secretary Bureau of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the General Office of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the General Office of the Ministry of Public Security and the General Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued the Notice on the Measures for Determining the Illegal Collection and Use of Personal Information through Apps, which aims to provide reference for supervision and administration departments and provide guidance for app operators’ self-examination and self-correction and social supervision by netizens, and further elaborates the forms of behavior constituting inappropriate collection activities and use of the personal information through apps including: (i) failing to publish the rules on the collection and use of personal information; (ii) failing to explicitly explain the purposes, methods and scope of the collection and use of personal information; (iii) collecting and using personal information without the users’ consent; (iv) collecting personal information unrelated to the services it provides and beyond necessary principle; (v) providing personal information to others without the users’ consent; (vi) failing to provide the function of deleting or correcting the personal information according to the laws or failing to publish information such as ways of filing complaints and reports.

On 28 May 2020, the National People’s Congress approved the PRC Civil Code, which has come into effect on 1 January 2021. Pursuant to the PRC Civil Code, a natural person shall have the right of privacy and the personal information of a natural person shall be protected by the law. Any organization or individual that need to obtain personal information of others shall obtain such information legally and ensure the security of such information, and shall not illegally collect, use, process or transmit personal information of others, or illegally purchase, sell, provide, divulge or tamper with the personal information. The processing of personal information shall be subject to the principle of legitimacy, rightfulness and necessity, with no excessive processing, and shall meet the following requirements: (i) obtaining the consent of the natural person or the guardian thereof, unless otherwise provided by laws or administrative regulations; (ii) expressly stating the purpose, method and scope of information to be processed; and (iii) not violating the provision of the laws and administrative regulations and the agreement between the parties.

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On August 20, 2021, the SCNPC promulgated the PRC Personal Information Protection Law, which will take effect from November 1, 2021. Pursuant to the PRC Personal Information Protection Law, personal information refers to the information related to an identified or identifiable individual recorded electronically or by other means, excluding the anonymized information, and processing of personal information includes among others, the collection, storage, use, handling, transmission, provision, disclosure, deletion of personal information. In addition to processing of personal information within the PRC, the PRC Personal Information Protection Law also applies to the processing of personal information outside the PRC under any of the following circumstances: (i) where the purpose is to provide products or services to individuals within the PRC; (ii) when analyzing or assessing the activities of domestic individuals; or (iii) other circumstances as stipulated by laws and administrative regulations. The PRC Personal Information Protection Law explicitly sets forth the circumstances where it is allowed to process personal information, including (i) the consent from the individual has been obtained; (ii) it is necessary for the conclusion and performance of a contract under which an individual is a party, or it is necessary for human resource management in accordance with the labor related rules and regulations and the collective contracts formulated or concluded in accordance with laws; (iii) it is necessary to perform statutory duties or statutory obligations; (iv) it is necessary to respond to public health emergencies, or to protect the life, health and property safety of individuals in emergencies; (v) carrying out news reports, public opinion supervision and other acts for the public interest, and processing personal information within a reasonable scope; (vi) processing personal information disclosed by individuals or other legally disclosed personal information within a reasonable scope in accordance with this law; or (vii) other circumstances stipulated by laws and administrative regulations. In addition, this law emphasizes that individuals have the right to withdraw their consent to process their personal information, and the processors must not refuse to provide products or services on the grounds that the individuals do not agree to the processing of their personal information or withdraw their consent, unless processing of personal information is necessary for the provision of products or services. Before processing the personal information, the processors should truthfully, accurately and completely inform individuals of the following matters in a conspicuous manner and in clear and easy-to-understand language: (i) the name and contact information of the personal information processor; (ii) the purpose of processing personal information, processing method, type of personal information processed, and the retention period; (iii) methods and procedures for individuals to exercise their rights under this law; (iv) other matters that should be notified according to laws and administrative regulations. Furthermore, the law provides that personal information processors who use personal information to make automated decisions should ensure the transparency of decision-making and the fairness and impartiality of the results, and must not impose unreasonable differential treatment on individuals in terms of transaction prices and other transaction conditions.

In addition to the aforementioned general rules, the PRC Personal Information Protection Law also introduces the rules for processing sensitive personal information, which refers to the personal information that, once leaked or illegally used, can easily lead to the infringement of the personal dignity of natural persons or harm personal and property safety, including biometrics, religious beliefs, specific identities, medical health, financial accounts, whereabouts and other information, as well as personal information of minors under the age of fourteen. Personal information processors can process sensitive personal information only if they have a specific purpose and sufficient necessity, and take strict protective measures. In addition, the law provides rules for cross-border provision of personal information. In particular, it is provided that the operators of critical information infrastructures and the personal information processors that process personal information up to the number prescribed by the national cyberspace administration shall store personal information collected and generated within the PRC. If it is really necessary to provide such personal information overseas, they shall pass the security assessment organized by the national cyberspace administration, except as otherwise stipulated by laws, administrative regulations and the national cyberspace administration. Any processor in violation of this law may be subject to administrative penalties including rectifications, warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, suspension of the apps illegally processing personal information or suspension of the relevant business, revocation of business operation permits or business licenses, civil liabilities or even criminal liabilities. The directly responsible personnel in charge and other directly responsible personnel may be imposed with fines and prohibited from serving as directors, supervisors, senior management personnel and personal information protection officers of related companies within a certain period of time. As the PRC Personal Information Protection Law is newly issued, and there are no further explanations or detailed rules or regulations with respect to its interpretation and implementation, we still face uncertainties how this law may be interpreted or implemented in ways that will negatively affect us.

Users give us certain personal information and we also synthesize, analyze and share the information with financial service providers. We have taken necessary measures in order to obtain consent from users to keep and use their personal information, and have also established information security systems to protect the user information and to abide by other network security requirements under applicable laws and regulations.

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Regulation Related to Foreign Investment

Foreign Investment law

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress approved the Foreign Investment Law, and on December 26, 2019, the State Council promulgated the Implementing Rules of the PRC Foreign Investment Law, or the Implementing Rules, to further clarify and elaborate the relevant provisions of the Foreign Investment Law. The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules both took effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced three major previous laws on foreign investments in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Law and the Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise Law, together with their respective implementing rules. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investments” refer to investment activities conducted by foreign investors (including foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises or other foreign organizations) directly or indirectly in the PRC, which include any of the following circumstances: (i) foreign investors setting up foreign-invested enterprises in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, (ii) foreign investors obtaining shares, equity interests, property portions or other similar rights and interests of enterprises within the PRC, (iii) foreign investors investing in new projects in the PRC solely or jointly with other investors, and (iv) investment in other methods as specified in laws, administrative regulations, or as stipulated by the State Council. The Implementing Rules introduce a see-through principle and further provide that foreign-invested enterprises that invest in the PRC shall also be governed by the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules.

The Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules provide that a system of pre-entry national treatment and negative list shall be applied for the administration of foreign investment, where “pre-entry national treatment” means that the treatment given to foreign investors and their investments at market access stage is no less favorable than that given to domestic investors and their investments, and “negative list” means the special administrative measures for foreign investment’s access to specific fields or industries, which will be proposed by the competent investment department of the State Council in conjunction with the competent commerce department of the State Council and other relevant departments, and be reported to the State Council for promulgation, or be promulgated by the competent investment department or competent commerce department of the State Council after being reported to the State Council for approval. Foreign investments beyond the negative list will be granted national treatment. Foreign investors shall not invest in the prohibited fields as specified in the negative list, and foreign investors who invest in the restricted fields shall comply with the special requirements on the shareholding, senior management personnel, etc. In the meantime, relevant competent government departments will formulate a catalogue of industries for which foreign investments are encouraged according to the needs for national economic and social development, to list the specific industries, fields and regions in which foreign investors are encouraged and guided to invest. The current industry entry clearance requirements governing investment activities in the PRC by foreign investors are set out in two categories, namely the Special Entry Management Measures (Negative List) for the Access of Foreign Investment (2020 version), or the 2020 Negative List, as promulgated by the National Development and Reform Commission, or the NDRC, and the Ministry of Commerce and taking effect on July 23, 2020, and the Encouraged Industry Catalogue for Foreign Investment (2020 version), as promulgated by the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce and taking effect on January 27, 2021. Industries not listed in these two catalogues are generally deemed “permitted” for foreign investment unless specifically restricted by other PRC laws.

According to the Implementing Rules, the registration of foreign-invested enterprises shall be handled by the State Administration for Market Regulation, or the SAMR or its authorized local counterparts. Where a foreign investor invests in an industry or field subject to licensing in accordance with laws, the relevant competent government department responsible for granting such license shall review the license application of the foreign investor in accordance with the same conditions and procedures applicable to PRC domestic investors unless it is stipulated otherwise by the laws and administrative regulations, and the competent government department shall not impose discriminatory requirements on the foreign investor in terms of licensing conditions, application materials, reviewing steps and deadlines, etc.

Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementing Rules, and the Information Reporting Measures for Foreign Investment jointly promulgated by the Ministry of Commerce and the SAMR, which took effect on January 1, 2020, a foreign investment information reporting system shall be established and foreign investors or foreign-invested enterprises shall report investment information to competent commerce departments of the government through the enterprise registration system and the enterprise credit information publicity system, and the administration for market regulation shall forward the above investment information to the competent commerce departments in a timely manner.

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Foreign Investment Restriction on Value-Added Telecommunications Services

According to the 2020 Negative List and other applicable laws and regulations, the industries of value-added telecommunications services (other than the services of electronic commerce, multiparty conferencing within the PRC, information storage and forwarding, and call center) are generally restricted to foreign investment with very limited exceptions in certain pilot demonstration zones.

According to the Administrative Regulations on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, as most recently amended in February 2016, foreign-invested value-added telecommunications enterprises must be in the form of a Sino-foreign equity joint venture. The regulations limit the ultimate capital contribution percentage by foreign investor(s) in a foreign-invested value-added telecommunications enterprise to 50% or less and require the primary foreign investor in a foreign invested value-added telecommunications enterprise to have a good track record and operational experience in the industry.

In 2006, the predecessor to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Circular of the Ministry of Information Industry on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-added Telecommunications Business, according to which a foreign investor in the telecommunications service industry of China must establish a foreign invested enterprise and apply for a telecommunications businesses operation license. This circular further requires that: (i) PRC domestic telecommunications business enterprises must not lease, transfer or sell a telecommunications businesses operation license to a foreign investor through any form of transaction or provide resources, offices and working places, facilities or other assistance to support the illegal telecommunications services operations of a foreign investor; (ii) value-added telecommunications enterprises or their shareholders must directly own the domain names and trademarks used by such enterprises in their daily operations; (iii) each value-added telecommunications enterprise must have the necessary facilities for its approved business operations and maintain such facilities in the regions covered by its license; and (iv) all providers of value-added telecommunications services are required to maintain network and internet security in accordance with the standards set forth in relevant PRC regulations. If a license holder fails to comply with the requirements in the circular and cure such non-compliance, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or its local counterparts have the discretion to take measures against such license holder, including revoking its license for value-added telecommunications business.

In light of the above restrictions and requirements, we conduct our value-added telecommunications businesses through our VIEs.

Regulations Related to Value-added Telecommunications Services

The PRC Telecommunications Regulations, as most recently amended in February 2016, are the primary regulations governing telecommunications services. Under the Telecommunications Regulations, a telecommunications service provider is required to procure operating licenses prior to the commencement of its operations. The Telecommunications Regulations distinguish “basic telecommunications services” from “value-added telecommunications services.” Value-added telecommunications services are defined as telecommunications and information services provided through public networks. A catalogue was issued as an attachment to the Telecommunications Regulations to categorize telecommunications services as either basic or value-added, and the value-added telecommunications services are further divided into Class I value-added telecommunications services and Class II value-added telecommunications services. The current catalogue, as most recently updated in June 2019, categorizes online information services as Class II value-added telecommunications services.

The Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses, promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in 2009 and most recently amended in July 2017, set forth more specific provisions regarding the types of licenses required to operate value-added telecommunications services, the qualifications and procedures for obtaining such licenses and the administration and supervision of such licenses. Under these measures, a commercial operator of value-added telecommunications services must first obtain a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or its provincial level counterpart, or else such operator might be subject to sanctions including corrective orders and warnings from the competent administration authority, fines and confiscation of illegal gains. In case of serious violations, the operator’s websites may be ordered to be closed.

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Pursuant to the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services, “internet information services” refers to the provision of information through the internet to online users, and they are categorized into “commercial internet information services” and “non-commercial internet information services”. Commercial internet information service is a type of Class II value-added telecommunications service in the current catalogue attached to the Telecommunications Regulations, as most recently updated in June 2019. A commercial internet information services operator must obtain a value-added telecommunications services license for internet information services, which is known as an ICP License, from the relevant government authorities before engaging in any commercial internet information services operations in China. No ICP License is required if the operator will only provide internet information on a non-commercial basis. According to the Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses, an ICP License has a term of five years and can be renewed within 90 days before expiration.

RDD, one of our variable interest entities, has obtained an ICP License for the provision of commercial internet information services issued by the Beijing Telecommunication Administration in July 2017.

In addition to the Telecommunications Regulations and the other regulations discussed above, the provision of commercial internet information services on mobile internet applications is regulated by the Administrative Provisions on Information Services of Mobile Internet Applications, which was promulgated by the State Internet Information Office in June 2016. The information service providers of mobile internet applications are subject to requirements under these provisions, including acquiring the qualifications required by laws and regulations and being responsible for information security.

Regulations Related to Internet Advertisements and Online Advertising

The PRC government regulates advertising, including online advertising, principally through the State Administration for Market Regulation, formerly known as the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. The PRC Advertising Law, as recently amended in April 2021, outlines the regulatory framework for the advertising industry and allows foreign investors to own up to all equity interests in PRC advertising companies.

Advertisers, advertising service providers and advertising publishers are required by PRC advertising laws and regulations to ensure that the contents of the advertisements they prepare or distribute are true and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. For example, advertisements must not contain terms such as “the state-level,” “the highest grade,” “the best” or other similar words. In addition, if a special government review is required for certain categories of advertisements before publishing, the advertisers, advertising operators and advertising distributors are obligated to verify that such a review has been performed and the relevant approval has been obtained. Pursuant to the PRC Advertising Law, the use of the internet to distribute advertisements must not affect the normal use of the internet by users. Where internet information service providers know or should know that illegal advertisements are being distributed using their services, they must prevent such distribution.

In addition to the regulations described above, the Interim Measures for Administration of Internet Advertising, adopted by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and effective on September 1, 2016, set forth certain compliance requirements for online advertising businesses. Advertising operators and distributors of internet advertisement must examine, verify and record identity information for advertisers such as name, address and contact information, and maintain a verification record that is updated on a regular basis. Moreover, advertising operators and advertising distributors must examine supporting documentation provided by advertisers and verify the contents of the advertisements against supporting documents before publishing them. If the contents of advertisements are inconsistent with the supporting documents, or the supporting documents are incomplete, advertising operators and distributors must refrain from providing design, production, agency or publishing services. These measures also prohibit the following activities: (i) providing or using applications and hardware to block, filter, skip over, tamper with, or cover up lawful advertisements; (ii) using network access, network equipment and applications to disrupt the normal transmission of lawful advertisements or adding or uploading advertisements without authorization; and (iii) harming the interests of a third party by using fake statistics or traffic data.

Violation of the foregoing laws and regulations may result in penalties, including fines, confiscation of advertising income, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an advertisement correcting the misleading information. In case of serious violations, the State Administration for Market Regulation or its local branches may force the violator to terminate its advertising operation or may even revoke its business license. Furthermore, advertisers, advertising operators or advertising distributors may be subject to civil liability if they infringe on the legal rights and interests of third parties.

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We conduct our online advertising business through RDD.

Regulation Related to Insurance Brokerage Business

According to the Measures for the Administration of Licenses of Banking and Insurance Institutions promulgated by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, or the CBIRC, in April 2021 and the PRC Insurance Law promulgated by the SCNPC, in June 1995 and most recently amended in April 2015, an insurance brokerage company is an entity that, in the interest of the applicant, provides intermediary services between the applicant and the insurer for the conclusion of an insurance contract and receives a commission in accordance with relevant laws. An insurance brokerage company shall obtain an insurance intermediary license before it engages in insurance brokerage business.

The Regulatory Provisions on Insurance Brokerages, or the Insurance Brokerages Provisions, which was promulgated by the CBIRC on February 1, 2018 and took effect on May 1, 2018, are also important regulations in the regulatory and legal framework for the PRC insurance brokerage industry. According to the Insurance Brokerages Provisions, to operate insurance brokerage business, an insurance brokerage company shall satisfy the relevant statutory requirements with respect to its shareholders, registered capital, business scope, articles of associations, company name, senior management personnel, governance structure, internal control system, feasible business mode, business premise, etc. An insurance brokerage company may not exceed the business scope and business area of the insurers, and may operate all or part of the following businesses: (i) drafting insurance plans for policyholders, selecting insurance companies and processing insurance application formalities; (ii) assisting insured parties or beneficiaries in making claims; (iii) carrying out reinsurance brokerage businesses; (iv) providing disaster prevention or loss prevention, risk evaluation and risk management advisory services to entrusting parties; and/or (v) any other insurance brokerage-related business stipulated by the CBIRC. In addition, the examination and approval of the qualification of insurance brokerage practitioners have been canceled by the PRC Insurance Law amended in 2015. Pursuant to the Insurance Brokerages Provisions, before an insurance intermediary practitioner begins to practice, his/her company shall handle the practicing registration in the insurance intermediary regulatory information system of the CBIRC for him/her. The practicing registration for each insurance brokerage practitioner shall only be conducted through one insurance brokerage company. Violations of the Insurance Brokerages Provisions by the insurance brokerage companies may subject them to penalties including without limitation warning, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, rectification, revocation of licenses, and the insurance brokerage companies may be prevented from applying for administrative approval again within a specified time.

On April 2, 2019, the CBIRC promulgated the Circular on Issuing the 2019 Plan for the Rectification of Chaos in the Insurance Intermediary Market, or the Rectification Plan, aiming to further curb the chaos of violations of laws and regulations in the insurance intermediary market. The Rectification Plan mainly provides three key tasks: (i) to ascertain insurance companies’ responsibility for management and control of various intermediary channels; (ii) to carefully investigate business compliance of insurance intermediaries; and (iii) to strengthen the rectification of insurance business of the third-party online platforms in cooperation with insurance institutions. An insurance intermediary shall strengthen the internal control management, prevent business risks, and focus on the rectification based on the following factors: (i) whether the professional insurance intermediary assists an insurance company in maliciously obtaining insurance proceeds by fabricating agency business, etc.; (ii) whether the professional insurance intermediary sells unapproved non-insurance financial products; (iii) whether the professional insurance intermediary grants benefits other than those stipulated in relevant insurance contracts to policyholders, the issued and beneficiaries; and (iv) whether the professional insurance intermediary has filed registration for sales personnel for practice in accordance with relevant regulations, etc.

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On December 7, 2020, the CBIRC promulgated the Regulatory Measures for Online Insurance Business, or the Online Insurance Measures, which took effect on February 1, 2021. The Online Insurance Measures set forth the fundamental business rules applicable to the business operation of all insurance institutions (including insurance companies and insurance intermediaries) and their self-operated online platforms, as well as the specific business rules applicable to various types of insurance institutions and their business operation. In particular, the Online Insurance Measures provide that insurance institutions shall sell the Internet insurance products or provide insurance brokerage and insurance adjustment services through their self-operated online platforms or the self-operated online platforms of other insurance institutions, and the insurance application page must belong to the self-operated online platforms of insurance institutions. If an insurance intermediary conducts the Internet insurance business, its insurance type shall not exceed the insurance coverage and business area of the underwriting insurance company, and its business scope shall not exceed the scope agreed upon in the cooperation or entrustment agreement. An insurance institution operating the Internet insurance business shall submit information related to its self-operated online platforms, Internet insurance products, cooperative sales channels, and related changes to the relevant information system of the relevant regulatory authority. An insurance institution shall submit a report on the operation of the Internet insurance business over the previous year to the relevant information system before April 30 each year. In addition, insurance institutions are required to conduct rectification in accordance with the Online Insurance Measures, complete the rectification of system construction, marketing, sales management, information disclosure and other issues within three months following the implementation of the Online Insurance Measures, and complete the rectification of other business operation issues within six months thereafter, and complete the network security level protection certification of the self-operated network platform within 12 months thereafter. Any insurance institutions in violation of the Online Insurance Measures may be ordered to make rectification or subject to other regulatory measures.

Regulation Related to Anti-money Laundering

Pursuant to the PRC Anti-money Laundering Law, which was promulgated by the SCNPC on October 31, 2006 and took effective on January 1, 2007, a financial institution established in the PRC or a special non-financial institution that shall perform the obligation of anti-money laundering shall adopt relevant prevention and supervision measures according to the laws, establish and improve its clients’ identification system, preservation system of clients’ identity materials and transactional records, reporting system of large sum transactions and doubtful transactions, and perform its anti-money laundering obligations.

Pursuant to the Notice of Strengthening Anti-money Laundering in Insurance Industry promulgated by the CBIRC on August 10, 2010 and Administrative Measures for Anti-money Laundering Agenda in Insurance Industry promulgated on September 13, 2011 by the CBIRC and became effective on October 1, 2011, the CBIRC shall organize, coordinate and direct anti-money laundering efforts in insurance industry.

Pursuant to the Notice of Strengthening Anti-money Laundering in Insurance Industry, equity investments in insurance intermediaries and equity structure changes therein should be in line with relevant requirements on fund sources in anti-money laundering laws and regulations of the PRC. According to the provisions of the Administrative Measures for Anti-money Laundering Agenda in Insurance Industry, insurance brokerage companies shall, in the light of the real-name system for policies and according to the work principles that client materials are complete, transaction records are available for inspection and circumstance of funds is regulated, effectively enhance the internal control level of anti-money laundering. Insurance brokerage companies shall establish an internal control system for anti-money laundering and prohibit funds which have an illegal source from investing into them. The senior management officers of insurance brokerage companies shall understand laws and regulations on anti-money laundering. Newly established insurance intermediaries and branch institutions and those restructured or reformed should meet anti-money laundering criteria specified by the CBIRC, including (i) establishment of system for client identity recognition, client identity and transaction record keeping, training and education, auditing, confidentiality, internal control system and operation protocols including those facilitating monitoring and inspection and administrative investigation; (ii) dedicated anti-money laundering posts and job descriptions, manning and training for such posts; and (iii) other requirements according to regulatory provisions.

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Regulation Related to Intellectual Property Rights

The PRC government has promulgated various laws and regulations relating to the protection of intellectual property. Software owners, licensees and transferees may register their rights in software with the National Copyright Administration or its local branches and obtain software copyright registration certificates. Although such registration is not mandatory under PRC law, software owners, licensees and transferees are encouraged to go through the registration process to enjoy the better protections afforded to registered software rights. The State Intellectual Property Office, formerly the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, handles trademark registrations and grants a protection term of ten years to registered trademarks. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is in charge of the overall administration of domain names in China. The registration of domain names in PRC is on a “first-apply-first-registration” basis. A domain name applicant will become the domain name holder upon the completion of the application procedure.

Regulations Related to Employment

The Labor Contract Law, which became effective in 2008, as amended in December 2012, requires employers to enter into written contracts with their employees, restricts the use of temporary workers and aims to give employees long-term job security.

Employers are required to contribute to social insurance for their employees in the PRC, including basic pension insurance, basic medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance and injury insurance. Employers are also required to make contributions to a housing provident fund for their employees.

Regulations Related to Foreign Exchange

Regulation on Foreign Currency Exchange

The principal regulations governing foreign currency exchange in China are the Foreign Exchange Administration Regulations, most recently amended in 2008. Under PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, by complying with certain procedural requirements. By contrast, approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital account items, such as direct investments, repayment of foreign currency-denominated loans, repatriation of investments and investments in securities outside of China.

In 2012, SAFE promulgated the Circular of Further Improving and Adjusting Foreign Exchange Administration Policies on Foreign Direct Investment, or Circular 59, which substantially amends and simplifies the current foreign exchange procedure. Pursuant to Circular 59, the opening of various special purpose foreign exchange accounts, such as pre-establishment expenses accounts, foreign exchange capital accounts and guarantee accounts, the reinvestment of RMB proceeds derived by foreign investors in the PRC, and remittance of foreign exchange profits and dividends by a foreign-invested enterprise to its foreign shareholders no longer require the approval or verification of SAFE, and multiple capital accounts for the same entity may be opened in different provinces, which was not possible previously. In 2013, SAFE specified that the administration by SAFE or its local branches over direct investment by foreign investors in the PRC must be conducted by way of registration and banks must process foreign exchange business relating to the direct investment in the PRC based on the registration information provided by SAFE and its branches. In February 2015, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Notice 13. Instead of applying for approvals regarding foreign exchange registrations of foreign direct investment and overseas direct investment from SAFE, entities and individuals may apply for such foreign exchange registrations from qualified banks. The qualified banks, under the supervision of SAFE, may directly review the applications and conduct the registration.

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In March 2015, SAFE promulgated the Circular of the SAFE on Reforming the Management Approach regarding the Settlement of Foreign Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprise, or Circular 19, which expands a pilot reform of the administration of the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of foreign-invested enterprises nationwide. Circular 19 replaced both the Circular of the SAFE on Issues Relating to the Improvement of Business Operations with Respect to the Administration of Foreign Exchange Capital Payment and Settlement of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or Circular 142, and the Circular of the SAFE on Issues concerning the Pilot Reform of the Administrative Approach Regarding the Settlement of the Foreign Exchange Capitals of Foreign-invested Enterprises in Certain Areas, or Circular 36. Circular 19 allows all foreign-invested enterprises established in the PRC to settle their foreign exchange capital on a discretionary basis according to the actual needs of their business operation, provides the procedures for foreign invested companies to use Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital for equity investments and removes certain other restrictions that had been provided in Circular 142. However, Circular 19 continues to prohibit foreign-invested enterprises from, among other things, using RMB funds converted from their foreign exchange capital for expenditure beyond their business scope and providing entrusted loans or repaying loans between non-financial enterprises. SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or Circular 16, effective June 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in Circular 19. Circular 16 provides that discretionary foreign exchange settlement applies to foreign exchange capital, foreign debt offering proceeds and remitted foreign listing proceeds, and the corresponding RMB capital converted from foreign exchange may be used to extend loans to related parties or repay inter-company loans (including advances by third parties). However, there are substantial uncertainties with respect to Circular 16’s interpretation and implementation in practice. Circular 19 or Circular 16 may delay or limit us from using the proceeds of offshore offerings to make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and any violations of these circulars could result in severe monetary or other penalties.

In January 2017, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Further Improving Reform of Foreign Exchange Administration and Optimizing Genuineness and Compliance Verification, or Circular 3, which stipulates several capital control measures with respect to the outbound remittance of profits from domestic entities to offshore entities, including (i) banks must check whether the transaction is genuine by reviewing board resolutions regarding profit distribution, original copies of tax filing records and audited financial statements, and (ii) domestic entities must retain income to account for previous years’ losses before remitting any profits. Moreover, pursuant to Circular 3, domestic entities must explain in detail the sources of capital and how the capital will be used, and provide board resolutions, contracts and other proof as a part of the registration procedure for outbound investment.

On October 23, 2019, SAFE issued Circular of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Promoting the Facilitation of Cross-border Trade and Investment, or the Circular 28, which took effect on the same day. Circular 28 allows non-investment foreign-invested enterprises to use their capital funds to make equity investments in China, provided that such investments do not violate the effective special entry management measures for foreign investment (negative list) and the target investment projects are genuine and in compliance with laws. According to the Circular on Optimizing Administration of Foreign Exchange to Support the Development of Foreign-related Business issued by SAFE on April 10, 2020, eligible enterprises are allowed to make domestic payments with their income under capital accounts such as capital funds, foreign debts and proceeds from overseas listing without submitting evidence of genuineness to the banks in advance, provided the use of such funds is genuine and in compliance with administrative regulations on the use of income under capital accounts.

Regulations on Foreign Exchange Registration of Overseas Investment by PRC Residents

In 2014, SAFE issued the SAFE Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37. SAFE Circular 37 regulates foreign exchange matters in relation to the use of special purpose vehicles by PRC residents or entities to seek offshore investment and financing or conduct round trip investment in China. Under SAFE Circular 37, a “special purpose vehicle” refers to an offshore entity established or controlled, directly or indirectly, by PRC residents or entities for the purpose of seeking offshore financing or making offshore investment, using legitimate onshore or offshore assets or interests, while “round trip investment” refers to direct investment in China by PRC residents or entities through special purpose vehicles, namely, establishing foreign-invested enterprises to obtain ownership, control rights and management rights. SAFE Circular 37 provides that, before making a contribution into a special purpose vehicle, PRC residents or entities are required to complete foreign exchange registration with SAFE or its local branch.

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In 2015, SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment. This notice has amended SAFE Circular 37 by requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing. PRC residents or entities who had contributed legitimate onshore or offshore interests or assets to special purpose vehicles but had not registered as required before the implementation of the SAFE Circular 37 must register their ownership interests or control in the special purpose vehicles with qualified banks. An amendment to the registration is required if there is a material change with respect to the special purpose vehicle registered, such as any change of basic information (including change of the PRC residents, name and operation term), increases or decreases in investment amount, transfers or exchanges of shares, and mergers or divisions. Failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 and the subsequent notice, or making misrepresentations or failing to disclose the control of the foreign-invested enterprise that is established through round-trip investment, may result in restrictions being imposed on the foreign exchange activities of the relevant foreign-invested enterprise, including payment of dividends and other distributions, such as proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation, to its offshore parent or affiliate, and the capital inflow from the offshore parent, and may also subject relevant PRC residents or entities to penalties under PRC foreign exchange administration regulations.

Regulations Related to Stock Incentive Plans

SAFE promulgated the Circular of the SAFE on Issues concerning the Administration of Foreign Exchange Used for Domestic Individuals’ Participation in Equity Incentive Plans of Companies Listed Overseas, or the Stock Option Rules, in February 2012, replacing the previous rules issued by SAFE in March 2007. Under the Stock Option Rules and other relevant rules and regulations, PRC residents who participate in a stock incentive plan in an overseas publicly listed company are required to register with SAFE or its local branches and complete certain other procedures. Participants in a stock incentive plan who are PRC residents must retain a qualified PRC agent, which could be a PRC subsidiary of the overseas publicly listed company or another qualified institution selected by the PRC subsidiary, to conduct the SAFE registration and other procedures with respect to the stock incentive plan on behalf of the participants. In addition, the PRC agent is required to amend the SAFE registration with respect to the stock incentive plan if there is any material change to the stock incentive plan or the PRC agent or any other material changes. The PRC agent must apply to SAFE or its local branches on behalf of the PRC residents who have the right to exercise the employee share options for an annual quota for the payment of foreign currencies in connection with the PRC residents’ exercise of the employee share options. The foreign exchange proceeds received by the PRC residents from the sale of shares under the stock incentive plans granted and dividends distributed by the overseas listed companies must be remitted into the bank accounts in the PRC opened by the PRC agents before distribution to such PRC residents.

See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Any failure to comply with PRC regulations regarding the registration requirements for employee stock incentive plans may subject the PRC plan participants or us to fines and other legal or administrative sanctions.”

Regulations Related to Dividend Distribution

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Holding Company Structure.”

Regulations Related to Taxation

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Taxation—China” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders” and “—We may not be able to obtain certain benefits under the relevant tax arrangement for dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us through our Hong Kong subsidiaries.”

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Regulations Related to M&A and Overseas Listings

In 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration for Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the CSRC, and SAFE, jointly issued the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, which was amended in June 2009.

C.Organizational Structure

The following diagram illustrates the principal entities in our corporate structure as of the date of this annual report:

Graphic

Notes:

(1)Our VIEs include RDD, KTN, GKZX, HST and TCT. Shareholders of RDD and their respective shareholdings in RDD and relationship with our company are (i) Jiayan Lu (40%), our chief operating officer and co-founder; (ii) Huijing Ye (40%), family member of one of our co-founders; and (iii) Caofeng Liu (20%), our chief technology officer and co-founder. Shareholders of KTN and their respective shareholdings in KTN and relationship with our company are (i) Hui Li (60%), our employee; and (ii) Yang Liu (40%), our employee. Shareholders of GKZX and their respective shareholdings in GKZX and relationship with our company are (i) Xiang Zhu (60%), our employee; and (ii) Dan Huang (40%), our former employee. Shareholders of HST and their respective shareholdings in HST and relationship with our company are (i) Hangzhou Magic Ant Investment Management Partnership (limited partnership) (73.8%), an investment holding company controlled by the founder of Databook; and (ii) Tingxin Lu (26.2%), family member of one of our co-founders. Shareholders of TCT and their respective shareholdings in TCT and relationship with our company are (i) Xiaoqing Hu (51%), our employee; and (ii) Yuexuan Gao (49%), our employee. Our VIEs’ subsidiaries include RDD’s subsidiary, Shanghai Anguo Insurance Brokerage Co., Ltd. Our contractual arrangements with HST and its shareholders are entered into through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Hangzhou Magnet Technology Co., Ltd.

We conduct most of our business operations through our directly owned subsidiaries. However, due to the PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership of value-added telecommunications businesses, we operate such operations and may operate certain other businesses which are also subject to foreign investment restrictions in China through our VIEs. Our VIEs also employ part of our research and development team. In addition, RDD has obtained a value-added telecommunications services license for internet information services, which is known as an ICP License.

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Contractual Arrangements with the VIEs

We have entered into a series of contractual arrangements, including exclusive call option agreements, equity pledge agreements and exclusive business cooperation agreements, with the VIEs and their shareholders. These contractual arrangements allow us to exercise effective control over the VIEs, receive substantially all of the economic benefits of the VIEs, and have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in the VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of the VIEs, and we treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of the VIEs and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. On April 3, 2019, one of the previous shareholders of RDD transferred her equity holdings in RDD to another individual. Concurrent with the completion of such equity transfer in RDD, the previous contractual arrangements we entered into with RDD’s previous shareholders that provided us effective control over RDD were terminated and a new set of contractual arrangements with the same terms were entered into with RDD’s new shareholders.

The following is a summary of the contractual arrangements entered into by and among RQN or Beijing Rongsanliuling Information Technology Co., Ltd., or R360, as applicable, the applicable VIE and the shareholders of the applicable VIE.

Agreements that provide us effective control over the VIEs

Exclusive Purchase Option Agreements. Pursuant to each exclusive purchase option agreement by and among RQN or R360, as applicable, the applicable VIE, and the shareholders of the applicable VIE, each of the shareholders of the applicable VIE irrevocably grants RQN or R360, as applicable, an exclusive option to purchase, or have its designated person to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the shareholders’ equity interests in the VIE at the lowest price permitted by applicable PRC law. In addition, the applicable VIE grants RQN or R360, as applicable, an exclusive option to purchase, or have its designated person to purchase, at its discretion, to the extent permitted under PRC law, all or part of the assets of the VIE at the price of the net book value of such assets, or the lowest price permitted by applicable PRC law, whichever is higher. Without the prior written consent of RQN or R360, as applicable, the applicable VIE may not increase or decrease the registered capital, dispose of its assets, enter into any material contract with a value exceeding a specific amount except for those executed in the ordinary course of business, appoint or remove any directors, distribute dividends to the shareholders, guarantee its continuance, amend its articles of association and provide any loans to any third parties. The shareholders of the applicable VIE agree that, without the prior written consent of RQN or R360, as applicable, they will not transfer or otherwise dispose of their equity interests in the VIE or create or allow any encumbrance on the equity interests. Each exclusive purchase option agreement will remain effective until all equity interests in each applicable VIE held by its shareholders and all assets owned by each applicable VIE are transferred or assigned to RQN or R360, as applicable, or its designated representatives.

Equity Pledge Agreements. Pursuant to each equity pledge agreement by and among RQN or R360, as applicable, the applicable VIE, and the shareholders of the applicable VIE, each of the shareholders of the applicable VIE pledges all of their equity interests in the VIE to guarantee their and the VIE’s performance of their obligations under the contractual arrangements including, but not limited to, the applicable exclusive business cooperation agreement, the applicable exclusive purchase option agreement and the applicable shareholders’ power of attorney. If the applicable VIE or its shareholders breach their contractual obligations under these agreements, RQN or R360, as applicable, as pledgee, will have the right to dispose of the pledged equity interests. The shareholders of the applicable VIE agree that, during the term of the equity pledge agreements, they will not dispose of the pledged equity interests or create or allow any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests, and they also agree that the rights of RQN or R360, as applicable, relating to the equity pledges shall not be prejudiced by the legal actions of the shareholders, their successors or their designates. During the term of each equity pledge agreement, RQN or R360, as applicable, has the right to receive all of the dividends and profits distributed on the pledged equity interests. The equity pledges will remain effective until the applicable VIE and its shareholders discharge all their obligations under the contractual arrangements. We have registered the equity pledges in each VIE with the relevant office of the administration for market regulation in accordance with the PRC Property Rights Law.

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Power of Attorney. Each shareholder of each VIE has signed an irrevocable power of attorney. Pursuant to the power of attorney, each of the shareholders of the VIEs will appoint RQN or R360, as applicable, as their attorney-in-fact, to exercise all shareholder rights, including, but not limited to, attending the shareholders’ meeting, voting on all matters of the applicable VIE requiring shareholder approval, appointing or removing directors and executive officers, and disposing of all or part of the shareholder’s equity interests in the applicable VIE pursuant to the applicable exclusive purchase option agreement and the applicable equity pledge agreement. The power of attorney of shareholders of each VIE will remain in force for an unlimited term, unless RQN or R360, as applicable, issues a contrary instruction in writing otherwise.

Agreement that allows us to receive economic benefits from the VIEs

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements. Under the exclusive business cooperation agreements by and between RQN or R360, as applicable, and the applicable VIE, RQN or R360, as applicable, has the exclusive right to provide the applicable VIE with technical, consulting and other services needed for the business of the VIE. In return, RQN or R360, as applicable, is entitled to receive a service fee from the applicable VIE. RQN or R360, as applicable, is entitled to receive the service fee on a monthly basis and at an amount equivalent to all of the net income of the applicable VIE as confirmed by RQN or R360, as applicable, which is adjustable at the sole discretion of RQN or R360, as applicable. RQN or R360, as applicable, owns the exclusive intellectual property rights created as a result of the performance of the applicable exclusive business cooperation agreement. Except with RQN’s or R360’s prior written consent, as applicable, the applicable VIE may not accept any consultation or services provided by any third party and may not cooperate with any third party regarding the matters contemplated by the applicable exclusive business cooperation agreement, unless RQN or R360, as applicable, appoints other parties to provide the applicable VIE with consultation or services. Each of the exclusive business cooperation agreements between RQN or R360, as applicable and the applicable VIE will remain effective unless terminated unilaterally by RQN or R360, as applicable.

In the opinion of Fangda Partners, our PRC legal counsel:

the ownership structure of our variable interest entities and wholly foreign owned subsidiaries in China does not violate any applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect; and
the contractual arrangements among our wholly foreign owned subsidiaries, our variable interest entities and the shareholders of our variable interest entities governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms and applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect and do not violate any applicable PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may in the future take a view that is contrary to or otherwise different from the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, its implementing rules and other regulations and how they may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

D.Property, Plant and Equipment

Our headquarters are located at the Zhongguancun technology hub in Beijing. Our research and development facilities and our management and operations facilities are located at our headquarters and two other locations in Beijing. We have sales and business development personnel at our headquarters in Beijing and at our regional offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen. We currently lease approximately 3,538 square meters of office space in Beijing, approximately 494 square meters of office space in Shanghai, approximately 461 square meters of office space in Shenzhen and approximately 5,125 square meters of office space in other cities in China.

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ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of selected events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F.

A.Operating Results

Overview

We are a leading independent open platform for discovery and recommendation of financial products in China. We connect users with financial service providers in a convenient, efficient and secure way. By leveraging our proprietary technology, we provide users with customized search results and recommendations tailored to each user’s particular financial needs and profile. We also enable financial service providers with sales and marketing solutions to reach and serve their target customers more effectively through integrated channels and enhance their competitiveness by providing them with tailored data, risk management services and solutions. We are committed to maintaining an independent open platform, which allows us to serve the needs of users and financial service providers impartially.

We generate our revenue primarily from fees that we charge financial service providers or their agents for our recommendation services for loan and credit card products on a cost-per-action basis or cost-per-success basis. We also offer financial service providers big data and system-based risk management services. To a lesser extent, we generate revenue from insurance brokerage services and provide advertising and marketing services primarily to financial service providers of credit cards and other financial products.

Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

Economic and industry trends in China

The growth in consumer lending in China in recent years has been supported by generally rising consumer demand and increased willingness to assume credit. Consumer demand has increased as China’s emerging middle class has enjoyed more disposable income, and Chinese consumers have been more willing to take on debt in an environment of relative economic stability and good employment prospects. With the rapid growth in China’s internet population, financial service providers have been seeking online channels to access those segments of the population that previously have been underserved, including the younger generation of potential customers that increasingly prefer mobile access to the internet. Lending to SMEs has also grown rapidly in China as SMEs have grown significantly and more financial service providers have been focusing on SME lending. The growth of our business will depend in part on the continuation of these trends.

Effectiveness of matching and recommendation

The revenue and growth of our recommendation services for financial service providers primarily depend on the effectiveness of our matching and recommendation capabilities. We rely on our data insights and proprietary technologies to efficiently match users with the financial products most suitable to their needs and increase the success rate of their applications to attract users to our platform. In turn, our user base enables us to serve financial service providers in reaching and serving their target customers more effectively through online and mobile channels. As we generate the majority of our revenues from recommendation services for financial service providers, we must continually enhance our data insights and strengthen our proprietary technologies to improve our matching and recommendation capabilities.

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Cooperation with financial service providers

We launched our online platform in 2012 with sales and marketing solutions, and introduced risk management services and solutions in 2015, and started insurance brokerage service in 2020. Through cooperation with financial service providers, we have further improved and developed the services and solutions that we can offer to them. These services and solutions often require some degree of cooperation and integration between our team and systems and the financial service provider’s, which increases their efficiency and also give financial service providers an additional incentive to remain on our platform. We offer a range of solutions requiring different degrees of cooperation and integration. For this trend to continue, we must continue to enhance our industry insights and develop proprietary technology to make our new and existing solutions more attractive to financial service providers.

Expansion of our user base and user activity

Although we generate our revenue primarily from fees that we charge financial service providers, their demand for our services and solutions largely depends on our ability to help them reach and serve their target customers. Therefore, the size and characteristics of our user base on our platform significantly affect our revenue and results of operations. We have incurred significant expenses and devoted considerable resources to marketing activities and user acquisition as we have built our platform, and we expect to continue to incur significant expenses as we grow. To achieve profitability, we must be able to retain and expand our user base and user activity in a cost effective manner.

Operating leverage of our platform

We have incurred significant expenses in building our platform and developing capabilities in data analytics and technology. Our business model is highly scalable and our platform is built to support our continued growth. While we expect our expenses to increase in absolute terms as our business expands, we also expect them to decrease as a proportion of our total revenues as we leverage our platform and achieve more economies of scale. Personnel costs have been the largest component of our total costs and expenses after marketing expenses, so to maintain and improve the operating leverage of our platform we must be able to grow our business without adding disproportionately to our personnel costs.

Ability to compete effectively

Our business and results of operations depend on our ability to compete effectively in the markets in which we operate. We compete primarily with other companies that also seek to position themselves as open platforms serving both users and financial service providers. We also compete with platforms that are affiliated with major internet companies, including search engine, social media, e-commerce and online payment companies. Some of these internet companies also offer their financial products on our platform, so they both compete and cooperate with us. In addition, we compete with financial service providers to the extent that they offer or list financial products on their own platform, and some of these financial service providers may also offer financial products on our platform as well. The consumer finance industry is continually evolving, and new competitors may emerge at any time. We must continue to innovate our services and solutions in a way that financial service providers will find attractive. Our ability to compete effectively depends in large part on our ability to anticipate the needs of both financial service providers and users.

Regulatory environment in China

The PRC government’s regulatory framework governing the online consumer finance market is rapidly evolving and is subject to further change and uncertain interpretation, and the application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are ambiguous and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently between different governing authorities. Our business, as well as other participants of online consumer finance market, is subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity, information security, privacy and data protection. There are numerous laws regarding privacy and the storing, sharing, use, disclosure and protection of personally identifiable information and data. In addition, the PRC government has also adopted several regulations governing personal credit reporting businesses. These regulations and measures require entities engaging in personal credit reporting business to obtain the personal credit reporting business licenses from the People’s Bank of China in accordance with law. It is uncertain whether we would be deemed to engage in personal credit reporting business because of our big data and system-based risk management services. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business”.

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If the PRC government adopts stringent regulations on financial service providers in the online consumer finance market or other partners we cooperate with, the growth of the market may slow, which may further influence our business and cooperation with financial service providers and other partners. If they impose specific requirements (including licensing requirements) on us, the requirements may be difficult or costly for us to comply with. Regulations may be adopted in a way that favor competing business models or that disadvantage the online consumer finance industry as a whole in comparison to traditional financial institutions.

Impact of COVID-19 On Our Operations

Beginning in January 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has severely impacted China and the rest of the world, and our business and results of operations have been adversely affected as a result. In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the temporary closure of many corporate offices across China. Given the strict implementation of quarantine measures during this period, we and certain of our business partners implemented temporary adjustment of work schemes allowing employees to work from home and adopted remote collaboration. We made operational adjustments to maintain the same high-quality service we had always provided our users, customers and partners as we simultaneously worked to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and push forward our business initiatives. However, as our cooperation with financial service partners rely heavily on face-to-face communications, our cooperation with them has been negatively impacted by the quarantine measures in China and in Beijing, in particular, for several months in 2020. Revenue from recommendation services for loans decreased by 83.5% from 2019 to 2020 and revenue from recommendation services for credit cards decreased by 49.7% from 2019 to 2020, partially due to the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenue from our advertising, marketing and other services was also negatively affected by the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and decreased by 23.3% from 2019 to 2020. In particular, our insurance brokerage services, which we introduced in the fourth quarter of 2019 after completing the acquisition of a licensed insurance brokerage company in China, was unable to expand as quickly as originally planned due to the strict quarantine measures in China and other negative impacts of COVID-19, as insurance brokerage business also relies heavily on face-to-face communications between our offline brokers and potential users. Additionally, the global COVID-19 pandemic and the associated inability to travel globally has negatively impacted our recommendation service business in Southeast Asia, and in Indonesia, in particular, and has also negatively affected the progress of the originally planned further expansion of our service offerings overseas since early 2020. Such negative global impact may continue in 2021. Furthermore, certain entities that we and one of our VIEs acquired to support our business growth in China and overseas were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their actual financial performance in 2020 was significantly below the forecasts at acquisition, and development of these businesses were expected to slow down. As a result, we recorded an impairment for goodwill of RMB12.6 million in 2020 attributable to such entities. The business expansion plans and financial performance of these entities may continue to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

Many of the quarantine measures within China have since been relaxed, and we, together with our business partners, have gradually resumed normal operations since mid-July 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in, and may intensify, global economic distress, and the duration and extent of the impact of COVID-19 outbreak is highly uncertain at this time. The extent to which it may affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on the future development of the outbreak, which is also highly uncertain and difficult to predict and will depend on a number of factors, including the duration and severity of COVID-19, the extent and severity of new waves of outbreak in China and other countries, the development and progress of distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and other medical treatment and the effectiveness of such vaccine and other medical treatment, and the actions taken by government authorities to contain the outbreak, all of which are beyond our control. If the situation materially deteriorates in China or globally, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.”

Key Components of Results of Operations

Revenues

Our revenues are derived from recommendation services for credit cards and loans, and big data and system-based risk management services and advertising, marketing and other services offered to financial service providers.

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The following table sets forth the breakdown of our total revenues, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of our total revenues, for the periods presented:

    

For the Year Ended December 31,

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

RMB

    

%

RMB

    

%

RMB

    

US$

    

%

(in thousands, except percentages)

Revenues:

Recommendation services:

Loans

 

1,015,407

 

52.8

 

666,307

 

46.4

 

109,814

 

16,830

 

18.7

Credit cards

 

689,822

 

35.9

 

585,993

 

40.8

 

294,567

 

45,144

 

50.3

Total recommendation services

 

1,705,229

 

88.7

 

1,252,300

 

87.2

 

404,381

 

61,974

 

69.0

Big data and system-based risk management services

 

106,597

 

5.5

 

134,927

 

9.4

 

144,227

 

22,104

 

24.6

Advertising, marketing and other services

 

110,050

 

5.8

 

48,500

 

3.4

 

37,154

 

5,694

 

6.4

Total revenues

 

1,921,876

 

100.0

 

1,435,727

 

100.0

 

585,762

 

89,772

 

100.0

Recommendation services.

We record fees charged for our recommendation services for credit card products on a cost-per-success basis, where the success is most often defined as the issuance of a credit card and in other cases by the completion of an application or the first usage of a credit card, depending on the credit card issuer’s policy. Affected by bank credit tightening and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, revenue from recommendation of credit cards declined in 2020, compared with previous two years.

We record fees charged for our recommendation services for loan products either on a cost-per-action basis, where the action is generally determined by a user’s completion of a loan application, or an amount charged based on a pre-agreed percentage of loan principal amount underwritten by the financial service providers. Due to the macro slowdown in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and online lending market adjustments pertaining to the evolving regulatory framework, revenue from loan recommendation service declined significantly in 2020. In 2020, the recommendation revenue of loans from overseas markets accounted for 14.3% of total loan recommendation revenues.

Big data and system-based risk management services. We provide big data and system-based risk management services to financial service providers, which integrates data and provides customizable automatic data and modeling solutions and services to financial service providers to facilitate their risk management primarily for loan products applicants. We expanded the service offerings to overseas markets in 2019 and introduced system-based total solutions through the acquisition of Newsky Wisdom in 2020.

Advertising, marketing and other services. We provide advertising and marketing services primarily to financial service providers of credit cards and other financial products, both on our own platform and on third-party search engine, social networking or other platforms where we purchase advertising resources. Other services primarily consist of insurance brokerage services, which was introduced in 2020.

Cost of revenues

The following table sets forth our cost of revenues, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenues, for the periods indicated:

    

For the Year Ended December 31,

2018

2019

2020

    

RMB

    

%

    

RMB

    

%

    

RMB

    

US$

    

%  

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

Cost of revenues

 

(194,492)

 

10.1

 

(133,968)

 

9.3

 

(118,171)

 

(18,111)

 

20.2

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Cost of revenues consists primarily of direct costs relating to advertising, marketing and other services revenue, including commissions paid to individual insurance brokerage agents starting in 2020, data acquisition costs and short message service (SMS) fees, bandwidth and server hosting cost, online payment processing fees, depreciation, payroll and other related costs of operations. We expect our cost of revenues in 2021 to increase in absolute terms as business resumes growth.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses consist of sales and marketing expenses, research and development expenses, general and administrative expenses, impairment loss and penalties.

The following table sets forth our operating expenses, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total revenues, for the periods indicated:

    

For the Year Ended December 31,

2018

2019

2020

    

RMB

    

%

    

RMB

    

%

    

RMB

    

US$

    

%

 

(in thousands, except percentages)

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

  

 

  

 

  

Sales and marketing

 

(1,486,399)

 

77.3

 

(1,199,346)

 

83.5

(481,719)

 

(73,827)

 

82.2

Research and development

 

(241,270)

 

12.6

 

(272,343)

 

19.0

(154,775)

 

(23,720)

 

26.4

General and administrative

 

(178,371)

 

9.3

 

(100,896)

 

7.0

(136,581)

 

(20,932)

 

23.3

Impairment loss

 

 

 

(254,683)

 

17.7

(16,893)

 

(2,589)

 

2.9

Penalties

 

 

 

(30,000)

 

2.1

 

 

Total operating expenses

 

(1,906,040)

 

99.2

 

(1,857,268)

 

129.3

(789,968)

 

(121,068)

 

134.8

Sales and marketing expenses

Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of marketing expenses relating to traffic acquisition, rewards to business partners under the Social Media and Partner Program, payroll costs and related expenses for employees involved in sales and marketing activities, and expenses for the portion of our call center operations that we outsource. We expense all sales and marketing costs as incurred. We expect our sales and marketing expenses in 2021 to increase in absolute terms as business resumes growth.

Research and development expenses

Our research and development expenses consist primarily of payroll costs and related expenses for employees involved in developing and improving our platform and our services and solutions. We expense all research and development costs as incurred. We expect our research and development expenses in 2021 to decrease in absolute terms as we continue to engage in cost optimization measures.

General and administrative expenses

Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of payroll costs and related expenses for employees involved in general corporate functions, including finance, legal and human resources, and professional fees relating to these functions. We expect our general and administrative expenses in 2021 to remain relatively stable.

Impairment loss and penalties

Our impairment loss in the year ended December 31, 2020 primarily reflects the impairment of the goodwill and intangible assets of acquired subsidiaries. We incurred impairment loss for the year ended December 31, 2019 due to the impairment of the goodwill and intangible assets of an acquired subsidiary and a fine imposed to it. We did not incur any impairment loss or penalties for the years ended December 31, 2018.

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Taxation

Cayman Islands

We are not subject to income or capital gains tax under the current laws of the Cayman Islands. There are no other taxes likely to be material to us levied by the government of the Cayman Islands.

Hong Kong

Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited, our subsidiary incorporated in Hong Kong, is subject to Hong Kong profits tax at a rate of 16.5% for taxable income earned in Hong Kong before April 1, 2018. Starting from the financial year commencing on April 1, 2018, the two-tiered profits tax regime took effect, under which the tax rate is 8.25% for assessable profits on the first HK$2 million and 16.5% for any assessable profits in excess of HK$2 million. Hong Kong does not impose a withholding tax on dividends.

China

Our PRC subsidiaries and our variable interest entities which are considered PRC resident enterprises under PRC tax law, are subject to enterprise income tax on their worldwide taxable income as determined under PRC tax laws and accounting standards at a rate of 25% except for 15% for the entity qualified as High and New Technology Enterprises. In addition, our PRC subsidiaries and our variable interest entities are subject to value added taxes, or VAT, at a rate of 6% on the services we provide to financial service providers, less any deductible VAT we have already paid or borne. They are also subject to surcharges on VAT payments in accordance with PRC law.

Dividends paid by our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China to our intermediary holding company in Hong Kong will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 10%, unless they qualify for a special exemption. If Jianpu (Hong Kong) Limited satisfies all the requirements under the Arrangement between the Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income and receives approval from the relevant tax authority, then dividends paid by our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 5% instead. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may not be able to obtain certain benefits under the relevant tax arrangement for dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us through our Hong Kong subsidiaries.”

If our holding company in the Cayman Islands or any of our subsidiaries outside of China were deemed to be a “resident enterprise” under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, it would be subject to enterprise income tax on its worldwide income at a rate of 25%. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If we are classified as a PRC resident enterprise for PRC income tax purposes, such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders or ADS holders.”

Critical Accounting Policies, Judgments and Estimates

An accounting policy is considered critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time such estimate is made, and if different accounting estimates that reasonably could have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements.

We prepare our financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make judgments, estimates and assumptions. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experiences and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Since the use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, actual results could differ from our expectations as a result of changes in our estimates. Some of our accounting policies require a higher degree of judgment than others in their application and require us to make significant accounting estimates.

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The following descriptions of critical accounting policies, judgments and estimates should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes and other disclosures included in this annual report. When reviewing our financial statements, you should consider (i) our selection of critical accounting policies, (ii) the judgments and other uncertainties affecting the application of such policies and (iii) the sensitivity of reported results to changes in conditions and assumptions.

Basis of presentation and principles of consolidation

Basis of presentation

Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. On an on-going basis, management bases the estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily available from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates. Identified below are the accounting policies that reflect our most significant estimates and judgments, and those that we believe are the most critical for fully understanding and evaluating its consolidated financial statements.

Noncontrolling interests

For our consolidated subsidiaries and VIEs, noncontrolling interests are recognized to reflect the portion of their equity that is not attributable, directly or indirectly, to us as the controlling shareholder. Noncontrolling interests are classified as a separate line item in the equity section of our consolidated balance sheets and have been separately disclosed in our consolidated statements of comprehensive loss to distinguish the interests from our interests.

Changes in our ownership interest while we retain controlling interest in our subsidiary or VIE shall be accounted for as equity transactions. Therefore, no gain or loss will be recognized in consolidated net income/(loss) or comprehensive income/(loss). The carrying amount of the noncontrolling interest will be adjusted to reflect the change in its ownership interest in the subsidiary or VIE. Any difference between the fair value of the consideration received or paid and the amount by which the noncontrolling interest is adjusted will be recognized in equity attributable to us.

Revenue recognition

We operate a platform for discovery and recommendation of financial products, including credit cards, loan products, insurance products and other financial products offered by a variety of financial service providers. Our platform includes our website, mobile website and mobile apps, which enable users to browse and search product information and initiate an online application. We generate revenues from recommendation services for credit cards and loan products, from big data and system-based risk management services and from advertising, marketing and other services. On January 1, 2018, we adopted ASC Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”), using the modified retrospective method. Revenues for reporting periods beginning after January 1, 2018 are presented under ASC606, while revenues for prior periods are not adjusted and continue to be presented under ASC Topic 605. The accumulated effect of adopting ASC 606 to the opening balance of accumulated losses as of January 1, 2018 is not material, therefore it was not adjusted.

Consistent with the criteria of ASC 606, we recognize revenues when performance obligations under the terms of a contract with a customer are satisfied and promised services have transferred to the customer, in an amount of consideration to which an entity expects to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services and net of value-added tax.

For service arrangements that involve multiple performance obligations, the transaction price is allocated to each performance obligation based on relative standalone selling prices of services being provided to customers. For the periods presented, we primarily use the price to be charged for the service when the service is sold separately in similar circumstances to similar customers to determine the relative standalone selling price.

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We account for discounts and return allowances as variable consideration. We consider the constraint on variable consideration and only recognize revenue to the extent that it is probable that a significant reversal will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved. Customers for recommendation services are entitled to apply for returns for invalid recommendations within a specified period after the recommendation is delivered under a limited circumstance, i.e., the applicant’s phone number cannot be connected, or the applicant is in the blacklist maintained by the financial service providers, etc. Return allowances are estimated based on historical experiences of returns granted to customers.

Timing of revenue recognition may differ from the timing of payment from customers. We do not have material contract assets as we generally have the unconditional right to payment as revenue is recognized or the timing difference is immaterial. Accounts receivable represents amounts that we have satisfied the performance obligation and have the unconditional right to payment. Unearned revenue consists of payments received related to unsatisfied performance obligations at the end of the period, included in “Advance from customers” in our consolidated balance sheets. Due to the generally short-term duration of our contracts, the majority of the performance obligations are satisfied in one year. The amount of revenue recognized that was included in the receipts in advance from customers balance at the beginning of the year was RMB80.5 million and RMB4.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020.

Recommendation services:

(i)Credit card

We provide recommendation services in respect of credit card products offered by credit card issuers or their agents on our platform. The individual users can select and apply for the credit cards, and submit applications to credit card issuers or their agents. We are not involved in the credit card approval or issuance process. Service fee is charged to the customers, i.e., the credit card issuers or their agents, upon completion of an application, issuance or first usage of a credit card by the users (collectively referred to as “cost-per-success”). Revenue is recognized when all of the revenue recognition criteria are met, which is generally when the customers confirm the number of card application, issuance or first usage with us.

(ii)Loans

We provide recommendation services in respect of loan products offered by the financial service providers on our platform, and assist the financial service providers or their loan sales representatives to identify qualified individual users or borrowers. We consider the financial service providers, including banks, consumer finance companies, micro loan companies and other licensed financial institutions, or their loan sales representatives to be our customers, and receives service fees from the customers primarily based on number of applications of qualified users. Revenue is recognized when all of the revenue recognition criteria are met, majority of which is when the user application is delivered to customers. The price for each recommendation charged to the financial service providers is either a fixed price as pre-agreed in the service contract, or pre-set in the bidding systems by the customers, or an amount charged based on a pre-agreed percentage of loan principal amount underwritten by the financial service providers. We do not retain any further obligations after the users or borrowers submit applications for the recommended products to the customers.

Big data and system-based risk management services

We provide big data risk management services, which integrates data and provides customizable automatic data and modeling solutions and services to customers, i.e., the financial service providers, to facilitate their risk management primarily for loan products applicants. We also provide SaaS-based risk management solutions, which allow financial service providers to conveniently manage acquisition efficiency, borrower screening and assessment in a comprehensive manner. Revenue from the aforementioned services is recognized when all of the revenue recognition criteria are met, which is generally when the result of query is provided to customers with a pre-agreed fixed price. Through the acquisition of Newsky Wisdom, we provide system-based total solutions to help our banking partners to build and boost digital capabilities so that they could better serve more consumers with financial needs. Such services include system research and development services and maintenance services. We recognize revenues of research and development services upon completion of the services. Revenues from system maintenance services are recognized ratably over the contractual terms..

99

Advertising, marketing and other services

We also provide advertising, marketing and other services primarily to financial service providers of credit cards and other financial products. Our advertising and marketing services allow customers to place advertisements in particular areas of our platform and third-party advertising network, at performance-based or time-based fixed prices, in particular formats and over particular periods of time. Performance-based revenues are recognized based on effective clicks, or effective activations, depending on the relevant performance measures. The effective clicks refer to that users click on the advertisements. The effective activations primarily include providing contact information or completing a registration form by users on the advertisers’ websites redirected from the advertisements, and user’s application are successfully approved by the credit card issuers in the case of advertising and marketing services related to credit card products. Time-based revenues are recognized ratably over the contractual term.

Other services revenues primarily consist of revenues from insurance brokerage service. Insurance brokerage revenue is commissions from insurance brokerage services, determined based on a percentage of premiums paid by the insureds. The brokerage commission, which is paid by the insurance company, is based on the terms specified in the service contracts with the insurance companies.

For service arrangements involved with third-party platforms, we consider whether we should report revenues on a gross or net basis by assessing all indicators set forth in ASC 606, and determine if we are acting as principal or agent. For arrangements where we control the service before it is transferred to the customer as a principal, as we are the primary obligor, subject to inventory risk, and having discretion in establishing prices, revenue is recorded on a gross basis on the amount of fees we billed to our customers, and the related marketing costs charged by third-party platforms that are directly attributable to the customers are recorded as costs of revenues. Otherwise, the revenue is recorded on a net basis.

Share-based Compensation Expense and Valuation of Underlying Equity

All share-based awards granted to employees or non-employees, including restricted ordinary shares and share options, are measured at fair value on grant date. Share-based compensation expense is recognized using the straight-line vesting method for awards that contain only service conditions, and using graded vesting method for other awards, net of estimated forfeitures, over the requisite service period, which is the vesting period.

We use the binomial option pricing model to estimate fair value of the share options. The determination of estimated fair value of share-based awards on the grant date using an option pricing model is affected by the fair value of underlying ordinary shares as well as assumptions regarding a number of complex and subjective variables. These variables include the expected value volatility of underlying ordinary shares over the expected term of the awards, actual and projected share option exercise behaviors, a risk-free interest rate and any expected dividends. The underlying ordinary shares which do not have quoted market prices, were valued based on the income approach. Determination of estimated fair value of the underlying ordinary shares requires complex and subjective judgments due to their limited financial and operating history, unique business risks and limited public information on companies in China similar to them.

Forfeitures are estimated at the time of grant and revised in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates. We use historical data to estimate forfeitures of the pre-vesting options and record share-based compensation expenses only for those awards that are expected to vest.

For share options granted with performance condition, the share-based compensation expenses are recorded when the performance condition is considered probable. Where the occurrence of an IPO is a performance condition, cumulative share-based compensation expenses for the options that have satisfied the service condition are recorded upon the completion of the IPO. We reassess the probability of vesting at each reporting period for awards with performance conditions and adjust compensation expense based on our probability assessment. We recognize a cumulative catch up adjustment for changes in our probability assessment in the reporting periods of the changes.

100

A modification is defined as a change in the terms or conditions of a share-based award (“modified award”). The compensation expenses associated with the modified awards are recognized if either the original vesting condition or the new vesting condition is achieved. Total recognized compensation cost for the awards is at least equal to the fair value of the awards at the grant date unless at the date of the modification the performance or service conditions of the original awards are not expected to be satisfied. The incremental compensation expenses are equal to the excess of the fair value of the modified award immediately after the modification over the fair value of the original award immediately before the modification. For stock options already vested as of the modification date, we immediately recognized the incremental value as compensation expenses. For stock options still unvested as of the modification date, the incremental compensation expenses are recognized over the requisite service period of these stock options.

Our share based awards granted to employees of the digital lending business that was previously operated by and was continued to be carried out by RONG360 after the Restructuring should be recognized as a deemed dividend from us to our shareholders at the fair value determined as of the grant date.

The detailed information of the share-based compensation expenses recognized for the year ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020 is included in Note 17 to our consolidated financial statements in this annual report.

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the identifiable assets and liabilities acquired as a result of the acquisitions of interests in our subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs. We perform quantitative goodwill impairment test annually or more frequently when an event occurs or circumstances change that indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. A goodwill impairment loss is recognized for the amount that the carrying amount of a reporting unit, including goodwill, exceeds its fair value, limited to the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. Nil, RMB147.3 million and RMB12.6 million of impairment loss of goodwill were recognized for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Impairment of long-lived assets

We evaluate our long-lived assets with finite lives for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances (such as a significant adverse change to market conditions that will impact the future use of the assets) indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be fully recoverable. When these events occur, we evaluate the impairment by comparing carrying amount of the assets to an estimate of future undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated from the use of the assets and their eventual disposition. If the sum of the expected future undiscounted cash flows is less than the carrying amount of the assets, we recognize an impairment loss based on the excess of the carrying amount of the long-lived assets over their fair value. Nil, RMB101.1 million and RMB4.3 million of impairment loss of long-lived assets were recognized for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Business combinations

We account for our business combinations using the purchase method of accounting in accordance with ASC topic 805, Business Combinations. The purchase method of accounting requires that the consideration transferred to be allocated to the assets, including separately identifiable assets and liabilities we acquired, based on their estimated fair values. The consideration transferred in an acquisition is measured as the aggregate of the fair values at the date of exchange of the assets given, liabilities incurred, and equity instruments issued as well as the contingent considerations and all contractual contingencies as of the acquisition date. The costs directly attributable to the acquisition are expensed as incurred. Identifiable assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities acquired or assumed are measured separately at their fair value as of the acquisition date, irrespective of the extent of any noncontrolling interests. The excess of (i) the total of cost of acquisition, fair value of the noncontrolling interests and acquisition date fair value of any previously held equity interest in the acquiree over (ii) the fair value of the identifiable net assets of the acquiree, is recorded as goodwill. If the cost of acquisition is less than the fair value of the net assets of the subsidiary acquired, the difference is recognized directly in earnings.

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The determination and allocation of fair values to the identifiable assets acquired, liabilities assumed and noncontrolling interests is based on various assumptions and valuation methodologies requiring considerable judgment from management. The most significant variables in these valuations are discount rates, terminal values, the number of years on which to base the cash flow projections, as well as the assumptions and estimates used to determine the cash inflows and outflows. We determine discount rates to be used based on the risk inherent in the related activity’s current business model and industry comparisons. Terminal values are based on the expected life of assets, forecasted life cycle and forecasted cash flows over that period.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amounts and as percentages of our total revenues. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. The operating results in any period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

    

For the Year Ended December 31,

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

RMB

    

%

RMB

    

%

RMB

    

US$

    

%

(in thousands, except percentages)

Revenues:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Recommendation services:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Loans (including revenues from related party of RMB105,492, RMB31,980 and RMB4,757 for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively)

 

1,015,407

 

52.8

 

666,307

 

46.4

 

109,814

 

16,830

 

18.7

Credit cards

 

689,822

 

35.9

 

585,993

 

40.8

 

294,567

 

45,144

 

50.3

Total recommendation services

 

1,705,229

 

88.7

 

1,252,300

 

87.2

 

404,381

 

61,974

 

69.0

Big data and system-based risk management services (including revenues from related party of RMB13,405, RMB6,858 and RMB3,626 for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively)

 

106,597

 

5.5

 

134,927

 

9.4

 

144,227

 

22,104

 

24.6

Advertising, marketing and other services

 

110,050

 

5.8

 

48,500

 

3.4

 

37,154

 

5,694

 

6.4

Total revenues

 

1,921,876

 

100.0

 

1,435,727

 

100.0

 

585,762

 

89,772

 

100.0

Cost of revenues

 

(194,492)

 

(10.1)

 

(133,968)

 

(9.3)

 

(118,171)

 

(18,111)

 

(20.2)

Gross profit

 

1,727,384

 

89.9

 

1,301,759

 

90.7

 

467,591

 

71,661

 

79.8

Operating expenses:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Sales and marketing (including expenses from related party of RMB51,753, RMB21,099 and RMB206 for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively)

 

(1,486,399)

 

(77.3)

(1,199,346)

 

(83.6)

 

(481,719)

 

(73,827)

 

(82.2)

Research and development

 

(241,270)

 

(12.6)

 

(272,343)

 

(19.0)

 

(154,775)

 

(23,720)

 

(26.4)

General and administrative

 

(178,371)

 

(9.3)

 

(100,896)

 

(7.0)

 

(136,581)

 

(20,932)

 

(23.3)

Impairment loss

 

 

 

(254,683)

 

(17.7)

 

(16,893)

 

(2,589)

 

(2.9)

Penalties

 

 

 

(30,000)

 

(2.1)

 

 

 

Loss from operations

 

(178,656)

 

(9.3)

 

(555,509)

 

(38.7)

 

(322,377)

 

(49,407)

 

(55.0)

Net interest income

 

5,037

 

0.3

 

5,100

 

0.4

 

(2,290)

 

(351)

 

(0.4)

Others, net

 

9,360

 

0.5

 

11,785

 

0.8

 

11,238

 

1,722

 

1.9

Loss before income tax

 

(164,259)

 

(8.5)

 

(538,624)

 

(37.5)

 

(313,429)

 

(48,036)

 

(53.5)

Income tax expenses/benefits

 

4,473

 

0.2

 

8,005

 

0.5

 

1,283

 

197

 

0.2

Net loss

 

(159,786)

 

(8.3)

 

(530,619)

 

(37.0)

 

(312,146)

 

(47,839)

 

(53.3)

Less: net income/(loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

4,829

 

0.3

(78,859)

 

(5.5)

 

(7,999)

 

(1,226)

 

(1.4)

Net loss attributable to Jianpu’s shareholders

 

(164,615)

 

(8.6)

 

(451,760)

 

(31.5)

 

(304,147)

 

(46,613)

 

(51.9)

Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019

Total revenues. Our total revenues decreased by 59.2% from RMB1,435.7 million in 2019 to RMB585.8 million (US$89.8 million) in 2020, primarily due to decreases in revenues both from recommendation services for loan and credit card products, and advertising and marketing services and other services.

Revenues from recommendation services decreased by 67.7% to RMB404.4 million (US$62.0 million) in 2020 from RMB1,252.3 million in 2019, due to decreases in revenues from recommendation services for both loan products and credit card products.

102

o

Revenues from recommendation services for credit cards decreased by 49.7% to RMB294.6 million (US$45.1 million) in 2020 from RMB586.0 million in 2019. Credit card volume for recommendation services in 2020 was approximately 2.8 million, representing a decrease of approximately 49.8% from that in 2019. The average fee per credit card for recommendation services was RMB106.8 (US$16.4) in 2020, which is stable from that of RMB106.5 in 2019.

o

Revenues from recommendation services for loans decreased by 83.5% to RMB109.8 million (US$16.8 million) in 2020 from RMB666.3 million in 2019, mainly due to the decrease in number of loan applications on our platform. The number of loan applications on our platform was approximately 7.0 million in 2020, representing a decrease of approximately 81.3% from that in 2019. The average fee per loan application decreased by 24.03% from RMB17.68 in 2019 to RMB13.43 (US$2.06) in 2020. Such changes were mainly attributable to the decrease of number of financial products available on our platform given the impact from COVID-19 pandemic, as well as credit tightening and change of industry dynamics. The recommendation revenue of loans generated from overseas markets accounted for 14.3% of total loan recommendation revenues in 2020.

Big data and system-based risk management services increased by 6.9% to RMB144.2 million (US$22.1 million) in 2020 from RMB134.9 million in 2019, mainly due to the increase in revenues from overseas markets and revenues from system-based solutions and services due to the acquisition of Newsky Wisdom in 2020.
Revenues from advertising, marketing and other services decreased by 23.3% to RMB37.2 million (US$5.7 million) in 2020 from RMB48.5 million in 2019, primarily due to a decrease in revenues from advertising and marketing services reflecting the impact from COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by revenues from insurance brokerage services that started in 2020.

Cost of revenues. Our cost of revenues decreased by 11.8% to RMB118.2 million (US$18.1 million) in 2020 from RMB134.0 million in 2019. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease from RMB16.9 million in 2019 to RMB3.0 million (US$0.5 million) in 2020 in short message service fees, the decrease from RMB16.4 million in 2019 to RMB6.7 million (US$1.0 million) in 2020 in bandwidth and server hosting costs, and the decrease from RMB34.2 million in 2019 to RMB26.3 million (US$4.0 million) in 2020 in direct costs relating to advertising and marketing services revenue, partially offset by the increase from RMB32.0 million in 2019 to RMB52.7 million (US$8.1 million) in 2020 in data acquisition costs.

Gross profit. Our gross profit decreased by 64.1% to RMB467.6 million (US$71.7 million) in 2020 from RMB1,301.8 million in 2019. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease of our total revenues.

Sales and marketing expenses. Our sales and marketing expenses decreased by 59.8% to RMB481.7 million (US$73.8 million) in 2020 from RMB1,199.3million in 2019. The decrease was mainly due to the decrease from RMB590.2 million in 2019 to RMB224.0 million (US$34.3 million) in 2020 in rewards to business partners for promotion through the Social Media and Partner Program, and the decrease from RMB437.6 million in 2019 to RMB131.8 million (US$20.2 million) in 2020 in traffic acquisition cost.

Research and development expenses. Our research and development expenses decreased by 43.2% to RMB154.8 million (US$23.7 million) in 2020 from RMB272.3 million in 2019, primarily due to the decrease in payroll costs including share-based compensation expenses, from RMB225.7 million in 2019 to RMB137.2 million (US$21.0 million) in 2020, and the decrease in depreciation expenses, rental expenses and professional expenses from RMB34.5 million in 2019 to RMB12.1 million (US$1.9 million) in 2020.

103

General and administrative expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by 35.4% to RMB136.6 million (US$20.9 million) in 2020 from RMB100.9 million in 2019. The increase was mainly due to the increase in professional fees from RMB43.0 million in 2019 to RMB68.3 million (US$10.5 million) in 2020, and the change in share-based compensation expenses from negative RMB19.2 million in 2019 to negative RMB2.4 million (US$0.4 million) in 2020. The increase in share-based compensation expenses was mainly due to a larger amount reversal of share-based compensation expenses in 2019, partially offset by the decrease of the numbers of unamortized options granted in prior years and newly granted share options in 2020. We reversed share-based compensation expenses in both 2019 and 2020 related to the options granted in 2017 with a performance condition, because the modified performance condition became improbable.

Impairment loss and penalties. Our impairment loss and penalties in 2020 were RMB16.9 million (US$2.6 million) and nil, respectively, compared with RMB254.7 million and RMB30.0 million, respectively, in 2019. The impairment loss in 2020 was primarily due to the impairment of the goodwill and intangible assets of certain acquired subsidiaries, the operations of which were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net loss. As a result of the foregoing, we had a net loss of RMB312.1 million (US$47.8 million) in 2020, compared with a net loss of RMB530.6 million in 2019.

Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018

Total revenues. Our total revenues decreased by 25.3% from RMB1,921.9 million in 2018 to RMB1,435.7 million in 2019, primarily due to decreases in revenues both from recommendation services for loan and credit card products and advertising and marketing services and other services.

Revenues from recommendation services decreased by 26.6% to RMB1,252.3 million in 2019 from RMB1,705.2 million in 2018, primarily due to a decrease in revenues from recommendation services for loan products.

o

Revenues from recommendation services for credit cards decreased by 15.0% to RMB586.0 million in 2019 from RMB689.8 million in 2018. Credit card volume for recommendation services in 2019 was approximately 5.5 million, representing a decrease of approximately 19.1% from that in 2018. The average fee per credit card for recommendation services increased to RMB106.45 in 2019 from RMB101.94 in 2018.

o

Revenues from recommendation services for loans decreased by 34.4% to RMB666.3 million in 2019 from RMB1,015.4 million in 2018, mainly due to the decrease in number of loan applications on our platform. The number of loan applications on our platform was approximately 37.7 million in 2019, representing a decrease of approximately 47.1% from that in 2018. The decrease was mainly attributable to the decrease of number of financial products available on our platform given the credit tightening and change of industry dynamics. The average fee per loan application increased to RMB17.68 in 2019 from RMB14.24 in 2018.

Big data and system-based risk management services increased by 26.5% to RMB134.9 million in 2019 from RMB106.6 million in 2018, mainly due to the expansion of our services.
Revenues from advertising, marketing and other services decreased by 55.9% to RMB48.5 million in 2019 from RMB110.1 million in 2018, primarily due to a decrease in revenues from advertising and marketing services

Cost of revenues. Our cost of revenues decreased by 31.1% to RMB134.0 million in 2019 from RMB194.5 million in 2018. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease from RMB106.9 million in 2018 to RMB34.2 million in 2019 in direct costs relating to advertising and marketing services revenue, partially offset by the increase from RMB22.8 million in 2018 to RMB32.0 million in 2019 in data acquisition costs and the increase from RMB9.5 million in 2018 to RMB15.5 million in 2019 in depreciation costs.

Gross profit and gross margin. Our gross profit decreased by 24.6% to RMB1,301.8 million in 2019 from RMB1,727.4 million in 2018. The decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease of our total revenues. Gross margin was 90.7% in 2019, compared with 89.9% in 2018.

104

Sales and marketing expenses. Our sales and marketing expenses decreased by 19.3% to RMB1,199.3 million in 2019 from RMB1,486.4 million in 2018. The decrease was mainly due to the decrease from RMB1,216.1 million in 2018 to RMB437.6 million in 2019 in traffic acquisition cost, and the decrease from RMB33.3 million in 2018 to RMB14.8 million in 2019 in call center outsourcing cost, partially offset by the growth from RMB85.4 million in 2018 to RMB590.2 million in 2019 in rewards to business partners for promotion through the Social Media and Partner Program.

Research and development expenses. Our research and development expenses increased by 12.8% to RMB272.3 million in 2019 from RMB241.3 million in 2018, primarily due to the increase from RMB190.6 million in 2018 to RMB209.6 million in 2019 in payroll costs mainly related to the hiring of new R&D staff in the first half of 2019.

General and administrative expenses. Our general and administrative expenses decreased by 43.4% to RMB100.9 million in 2019 from RMB178.4 million in 2018. The decrease was primarily due to a net impact of negative RMB79.6 million arising from the reversal of share-based compensation expenses related to the options granted in 2017 with a performance condition and the recognition of share-based compensation expenses for the modification of performance condition for the same awards in the fourth quarter of 2019. Such reversal and recognition were recorded, because the achievement of original performance condition became improbable and a modification was made consequently. Apart from the impact of share-based compensation, our general and administrative expenses increased by 78.7% in 2019 compared with that in 2018, which was mainly due to the increase in professional fees from RMB20.3 million in 2018 to RMB43.0 million in 2019, and the increase in allowance for doubtful accounts from RMB1.0 million in 2018 to RMB28.3 million in 2019.

Impairment loss and penalties. Our impairment loss and penalties in 2019 were RMB254.7 million and RMB30 million, respectively, compared with nil and nil, respectively, in 2018, primarily due to the impairment of the goodwill and intangible assets of an acquired subsidiary. The business of the subsidiary has been suspended and an investigation related to compliance of information collection or use was initiated in 2019. The investigation has concluded in 2021 and the subsidiary was imposed a fine, in relation to which, we recorded RMB30 million penalties in 2019.

Net loss. As a result of the foregoing, we had a net loss of RMB530.6 million in 2019, compared with a net loss of RMB159.8 million in 2018.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

A list of recent accounting pronouncements that are relevant to us is included in Note 3 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report.

105

B.Liquidity and Capital Resources

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods presented:

For the Year Ended December 31,

2018

2019

2020

RMB

    

RMB

    

RMB

    

US$

    

(in thousands)

Summary Consolidated Cash Flow Data:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net cash used in operating activities

 

(72,827)

 

(200,837)

 

(107,498)

 

(16,474)

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(323,438)

 

(47,457)

 

(91,265)

 

(13,987)

Net cash provided by/(used in) financing activities

 

60,399

 

(198,034)

 

98,597

 

15,110

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash

 

62,056

 

9,709

 

(34,031)

 

(5,215)

Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash

 

(273,810)

 

(436,619)

 

(134,197)

 

(20,566)

Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of the year

 

1,543,811

 

1,270,001

 

833,382

 

127,721

Including:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the year

 

1,543,811

 

1,270,001

 

694,910

 

106,500

Restricted cash at beginning of the year

 

 

 

138,472

 

21,221

Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of the year

 

1,270,001

 

833,382

 

699,185

 

107,155

Including:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents at end of the year

 

1,270,001

 

694,910

 

549,979

 

84,288

Restricted cash at end of the year

 

 

138,472

 

149,206

 

22,867

We believe our current cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to meet our current and anticipated needs for general corporate purposes for at least the next 12 months. After our IPO, we generally enhance our liquidity position or increase our cash reserve for future investments through additional capital and finance funding. The issuance and sale of additional equity would result in further dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed obligations and could result in operating covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

In utilizing the proceeds, we received from our IPO, we may make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, make loans to our PRC subsidiaries, or acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in offshore transactions. However, most of these uses are subject to applicable approval or registration requirements under PRC laws and regulations. For example:

capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries are subject to registration with the SAMR or its local counterpart and registration with local bank authorized by SAFE; and
loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with SAFE or its local branches.

See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations Related to Foreign Exchange.”

A majority of our future revenues are likely to be in RMB. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior SAFE approval as long as certain routine procedural requirements are fulfilled. Therefore, our PRC subsidiaries are allowed to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior SAFE approval by following certain routine procedural requirements. However, approval from or registration with competent government authorities is required where the RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may at its discretion restrict access to foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future.

106

Operating Activities

Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was RMB107.5 million (US$16.5 million), as compared to net loss of RMB312.1 million (US$47.8million) for the same period. The principal changes in operating assets and liabilities were a decrease of RMB98.7 million(US$15.1million) in accounts receivable and a decrease of RMB61.8 million(US$9.5million) in prepayments and other current assets, partially offset by a decrease of RMB24.8 million(US$3.8million) in amount due to related party. The decrease in accounts receivable and prepayments were attributable to the optimization of collection and payment cycles. The principal non-cash items affecting the difference between our net loss and our net cash used in operating activities in 2020 were RMB18.6 million (US$2.9 million) of depreciation and amortization expenses, RMB16.9 million(US$2.6million) of impairment loss and RMB13.1 million(US$2.0million) of allowance for credit losses.

Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was RMB200.8 million, as compared to net loss of RMB530.6 million for the same period. The principal non-cash items affecting the difference between our net loss and our net cash used in operating activities in 2019 were RMB254.7 million of impairment loss, RMB36.5 million of depreciation and amortization expenses, RMB28.3 million of allowance for doubtful accounts and partially offset by deferred income tax benefits of RMB16.8 million. The principal changes in operating assets and liabilities were a decrease of RMB71.7 million in advance from customers, a decrease of RMB38.4 million in amount due to related party, a decrease of RMB17.3 million in tax payable, partially offset by a decrease of RMB73.3 million in accounts receivable, an increase of RMB48.4 million in accrued expenses and other current liabilities and a decrease of RMB46.4 million in prepayments and other current assets. The decrease in advance from customers was attributable to the slowdown of loan business under the influence of industry volatility. The decrease in accounts receivable and prepayments were attributable to the optimization of collection and payment cycles.

Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was RMB72.8 million, as compared to net loss of RMB159.8 million for the same period. The principal changes in operating assets and liabilities were an increase of RMB261.4 million in accounts receivable, which was mainly due to the expansion of credit card business, partially offset by the following changes: an increase of RMB66.4 million in accrued expenses and other current liabilities, mainly due to the increase of accrued payroll, an increase of RMB31.2 million in advance from customers, an increase of RMB30.6 million in amount due to related party and an increase of RMB21.2 million of tax payable. The principal non-cash items affecting the difference between our net loss and our net cash used in operating activities in 2018 were RMB130.7 million of share-based compensation expenses and RMB25.3 million of depreciation and amortization expenses. The increases in accounts receivable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities, and advance from customers were attributable to the growth of our business.

Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was RMB91.3 million (US$14.0 million), including a transfer to restricted time deposits of RMB89.4 million (US$13.7 million), and a net inflow of RMB8.6 million (US$1.3 million) of short-term investments and restricted investment.

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was RMB47.5 million, including a net inflow of RMB42.8 million of short-term investments and restricted investment activities, a net outflow of RMB45.4 million of restricted time deposits, RMB24.6 million of payment for business combination and RMB16.4 million of payment for property and equipment.

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was RMB323.4 million including RMB142.4 million transferred to restricted time deposits, RMB109.6 million of payment for business combination, RMB41.8 million of payment for property and equipment, and RMB27.9 million of payment for long-term investments.

Financing Activities

Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 was RMB98.6 million (US$15.1 million) , including a net cash inflow of RMB98.5 million (US$15.1 million) of incremental drawdown of short-term borrowings.

Net cash used in financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was RMB198.0 million, including a net cash outflow of RMB70.0 million of short-term borrowing activities and RMB134.6 million of payment for share repurchase, partially offset by RMB10.0 million of proceeds from employees exercising stock options.

107

Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was RMB60.4 million including RMB130 million of proceeds from short-term borrowings, RMB70.1 million of payment for share repurchase and RMB0.5 million of proceeds from employees exercising stock options.

Capital Expenditures

Our capital expenditures are primarily incurred for purchases of intangible assets, property and equipment. Our capital expenditures were RMB41.8 million in 2018, RMB16.4 million in 2019 and RMB4.1 million (US$0.6 million) in 2020. We intend to fund our future capital expenditures with bank loans and operational cash inflows. We will continue to make capital expenditures to meet the needs of the expected growth of our business.

Holding Company Structure

Jianpu Technology Inc. is a holding company with no material operations of its own. We conduct our operations primarily through our PRC subsidiaries and our variable interest entities in China. As a result, Jianpu Technology Inc.’s ability to pay dividends depends upon dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries. If our existing PRC subsidiaries or any newly formed ones incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC law, each of our subsidiaries and our variable interest entities in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund certain statutory reserve funds until such reserve funds reach 50% of its registered capital. In addition, any of our wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries in China may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to enterprise expansion funds and staff bonus and welfare funds at its discretion, and our variable interest entities may allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to a discretionary surplus fund at its discretion. The statutory reserve funds and the discretionary funds are not distributable as cash dividends. For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, profit appropriation to statutory surplus fund for our entities incorporated in the PRC was approximately nil, RMB1.9 million and nil respectively. No appropriation to other reserve funds was made for any of the periods presented. Remittance of dividends by a wholly foreign-owned company out of China is subject to examination by the banks designated by SAFE. Our PRC subsidiaries have not paid dividends and will not be able to pay dividends until they generate accumulated profits and meet the requirements for statutory reserve funds.

C.Research and Development

See “Item 4. Information On the Company—B. Business Overview—Data and Technology.” and “Item 4. Information On the Company—B. Business Overview—Intellectual Property.”

D.Trend Information

Other than as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we are not aware of any trends, uncertainties, demands, commitments or events for the year ended December 31, 2020 that are reasonably likely to have a material and adverse effect on our net revenues, income, profitability, liquidity or capital resources, or that would cause the disclosed financial information to be not necessarily indicative of future results of operations or financial conditions.

E.Off-balance Sheet Arrangements

We have not entered into any financial guarantees or other commitments to guarantee the payment obligations of any unconsolidated third parties. In addition, we have not entered into any derivative contracts that are indexed to our shares and classified as shareholders’ equity or that are not reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Furthermore, we do not have any retained or contingent interest in assets transferred to an unconsolidated entity that serves as credit, liquidity or market risk support to such entity. Moreover, we do not have any variable interest in any unconsolidated entity that provides financing, liquidity, market risk or credit support to us or engages in leasing, hedging or product development services with us.

108

F.Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2020:

Less than

Total

1 year

1-3 years

3-5 Years

More than 5 years

    

RMB

    

US$

    

RMB

    

US$

    

RMB

    

US$

    

RMB

    

US$

    

RMB

    

US$

 

(in thousands)

Operating lease agreements

 

21,077

 

3,230

 

14,275

 

2,188

 

6,802

 

1,042

 

 

 

 

Total

 

21,077

 

3,230

 

14,275

 

2,188

 

6,802

 

1,042

 

 

 

 

Operating lease agreements represent leases for our office premises.

Other than as shown above, we did not have any significant capital and other commitments, long-term obligations, or guarantees as of December 31, 2020.

G.Safe Harbor

See “Forward-Looking Statements” on page 3 of this annual report.

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

A.Directors and Senior Management

The following table sets forth information regarding our directors and executive officers as of the date of this annual report.

Directors and Executive Officers

    

Age

    

Position/Title

Daqing (David) Ye

48

Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Jiayan Lu

46

Co-Founder, Director and Chief Operating Officer

Caofeng Liu

38

Co-Founder, Director and Chief Technology Officer

Chenchao Zhuang

45

Co-Founder, Director

Yilü (Oscar) Chen

46

Director and Chief Financial Officer

James Qun Mi

54

Director

Denny Ting Bun Lee

53

Independent Director

Xiaoyan Zhang

45

Independent Director

Kuangyu (Jeff) Liao

61

Independent Director

Mr. Daqing (David) Ye has served as the chairman of our board of directors and our chief executive officer since October 2017. He is a co-founder of RONG360, and has served as its chairman since its inception. Mr. Ye has 20 years of experience in operations and management of internet business and consumer financial institutions in China and the United States. Before founding our company, he served as head of marketing for PayPal, China from 2009 to 2011, director of digital marketing capabilities of American Express Company’s, Risk, Information & Banking Group in New York from 2007 to 2009, and senior manager of marketing analysis at AOL Inc. from 2004 to 2007. Mr. Ye started his career as a risk data analyst at Capital One Financial Corporation’s risk strategy and analysis team in 1998, and later worked as a credit risk manager at Global Credit Assurance & Consulting team, and managed statisticians and data analysts at the acquisition marketing team of Capital One’s Under Served Markets group from 2000 to 2004. Mr. Ye received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Hunan University in China and a master’s degree in finance from the George Washington University in the United States. He is an EMBA candidate at the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University.

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Mr. Jiayan Lu has served as our director and chief operating officer since October 2017. He is a co-founder of RONG360, and has served as its director since August 2015. Mr. Lu served as deputy director of Pudong branch, deputy general manager of Shanghai branch and deputy general manager of operations of the Bank of Ningbo from 2007 to 2011. Mr. Lu worked as the manager of the customer service center of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc in greater China from 2004 to 2007 and director of the customer service center of Standard Chartered Bank from 2002 to 2004. Mr. Lu received a bachelor’s degree in international finance from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 1997 and an MBA degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2002.

Mr. Caofeng Liu has served as our director and chief technology officer since October 2017. He is a co-founder of RONG360. Prior to founding our company, Mr. Liu served as research and development manager at Baidu, Inc. from 2008 to 2011, senior research and development manager at kuxun.com from 2006 to 2008 and architect at tq.com from 2004 to 2006. Mr. Liu received a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Nanchang Hangkong University in 2004. He is an EMBA candidate at the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University.

Mr. Chenchao Zhuang has served as our director since October 2017. He is a co-founder of RONG360. Mr. Zhuang is a co-founder and managing director of Zebra Global Capital, a technology private-equity firm in China. Prior to that, Mr. Zhuang was a co-founder and chief executive officer of Qunar Cayman Islands Limited from June 2011 to January 2016, where he and his team grew Qunar from a small technology startup to become a leading online travel company. Prior to co-founding Qunar, Mr. Zhuang worked for the World Bank as a system architect based in Washington, D.C. from 2001 to 2005. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Mr. Zhuang was the chief technology officer of Shawei.com, a leading sports portal website in China. Mr. Zhuang received a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Peking University in 1998.

Mr. Yilü (Oscar) Chen has served as our director since May 2019 and as our chief financial officer since October 2017, and before that RONG360 Inc.’s chief financial officer. Mr. Chen served as the chief financial officer of Jia.com from July 2015 to November 2016. Prior to that, Mr. Chen served as executive director at Fosun Kinzon Capital from July 2014 to July 2015, executive director at Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities from 2006 to 2014, vice president at Changjiang BNP Paribas Peregrine from 2005 to 2006, assistant general manager of the investment banking division at China Southern Securities Co., Ltd. from 2000 to 2005 and assistant audit manager at KPMG from 1997 to 2000. Mr. Chen received a bachelor’s degree in international business management from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics in 1997.

Mr. James Qun Mi has served as our director since October 2017. He has served as a managing director of Lightspeed China Partners, a China-focused early-stage venture capital firm with investments in internet, mobile and information technology, since co-founding it in 2011. Mr. Mi served as a managing director of Lightspeed Venture Partners from 2008 to 2011. From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Mi worked for Google, first as its head of Asia Products and the chief representative of its representative office in China, and later as a director of corporate development for strategic investments and mergers and acquisitions in the greater China area and the pan-Asian region. Mr. Mi holds 14 U.S. patents in flash memory, communications, internet security and commerce. Mr. Mi is also a director of 49 privately held companies. Mr. Mi received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Fudan University in 1989 and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1991.

Mr. Denny Ting Bun Lee has served as our independent director since November 2017. Mr. Lee has served as a director of NetEase, Inc., a leading internet and online game service provider in China listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, since 2002. He was the chief financial officer of NetEase, Inc. from 2002 to 2007. Prior to joining NetEase, Inc., Mr. Lee worked in the Hong Kong office of KPMG for more than ten years. Mr. Lee currently serves as an independent non-executive director and the chairman of the audit committees of the following companies: (1) New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., a provider of private education services in China listed on the New York Stock Exchange, (2) China Metal Resources Utilization Ltd., a company principally engaged in the manufacturing and sales of copper and related products in China listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and (3) NIO Inc., a pioneer in China’s premium electric vehicle market listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He also used to serve as an independent non-executive director of Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited, a leading specialty hospital management solution provider and operator in China listed on the New York Stock Exchange, from which position he resigned in May 2021. Mr. Lee graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University majoring in accounting and is a member of The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

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Dr. Xiaoyan Zhang has served as our independent director since February 2018. Dr. Zhang is currently Associate Dean and Xinyuan Chair Professor of Finance at the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on financial technology, international finance, empirical asset pricing and applied econometrics. Before she joined Tsinghua University, Dr. Zhang was the Duke Realty Chair Professor of Finance with tenure at the Krannert School of Management, Purdue University. Prior to joining Krannert faculty in 2010, Dr. Zhang was an assistant professor of finance at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University from 2002 to 2010. In 2014, Dr. Zhang was named one of the “Top 40 under 40” Business School professors in the world. Dr. Zhang served as a member of the Issuance Examination Committee of China Securities Regulatory Commission. She also works as an independent director at Sinoma International Engineering Co., and ANZ Bank China. Dr. Zhang received her Bachelor Degree in international economics from Peking University, and her Doctoral Degree of Philosophy in Finance from Columbia Business School.

Mr. Kuangyu (Jeff) Liao has served as our independent director since November 2018. Mr. Liao has 30 years of experience in operations and senior management across online payments, e-Commerce, and consumer finance in Greater China. He served as the head of Apple Pay Asia from November 2014 to March 2018. In the ten years before he joined Apple Pay Asia, Mr. Liao held several senior executive positions at global technology companies, including head of Visa China, CEO of eBay Greater China, head of PayPal China and general manager at Standard Chartered Consumer Bank China. Prior to that, he also held key posts at GE Capital, Citicorp and American Express in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Currently, Mr. Liao serves as an independent director of Zizaike.com, a privately held company that operates an online marketplace for hospitality service. Mr. Liao received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) in 1982 and graduate study in material science from San Jose State University in 1987.

Employment Agreements and Indemnification Agreements

We have entered into employment agreements with our senior executive officers. Pursuant to these agreements, we are entitled to terminate a senior executive officer’s employment for cause at any time without remuneration for certain acts of the officer, such as being convicted of any criminal conduct, any act of gross or willful misconduct or any serious, willful, grossly negligent or persistent breach of any employment agreement provision, or engaging in any conduct which may make the continued employment of such officer detrimental to our company. In connection with the employment agreement, each senior executive officer will enter into an intellectual property ownership and confidentiality agreement and agree to hold all information, know-how and records in any way connected with the products of our company, including, without limitation, all software and computer formulas, designs, specifications, drawings, data, manuals and instructions and all customer and supplier lists, sales and financial information, business plans and forecasts, all technical solutions and the trade secrets of our company, in strict confidence perpetually. Each officer will also agree that we shall own all the intellectual property developed by such officer during his or her employment.

We have also entered into indemnification agreements with our directors and senior executive officers. Under these agreements, we agree to indemnify them against certain liabilities and expenses that they incur in connection with claims made by reason of their being a director or officer of our company.

B.Compensation

For the year ended December 31, 2020, we paid an aggregate of approximately RMB8.2 million (US$1.3 million) in cash and benefits to our executive officers. We do not pay our non-executive directors. For share incentive grants to our officers and directors, see “—Share Incentive Plans.” We have not set aside or accrued any amount to provide pension, retirement or other similar benefits to our executive officers and directors. Our PRC subsidiaries are required by law to make contributions equal to certain percentages of each employee’s salary for his or her pension insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance and other statutory benefits and a housing provident fund.

Share Incentive Plans

RONG360 Inc. adopted its 2012 Share Plan, or the RONG360 2012 Plan, in November 2012. We adopted a share incentive plan, Global Share Plan effective on our IPO, to link the personal interests of our employees, directors and consultants to the success of our business. Our Global Share Plan is substantially identical to the RONG360 2012 Plan, pursuant to the Global Share Plan, not more than 26,905,189 shares of us may be issued.

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In October 2017, our board of directors approved the 2017 Share Incentive Plan to attract and retain the best available personnel, provide additional incentives to employees, directors and consultants and promote the success of our business. Under the 2017 Share Incentive Plan, or the 2017 Plan, the maximum number of shares available for issuance shall be 2% of the total number of shares issued and outstanding as of the closing of our IPO, plus an annual increase on the first day of each of the first five fiscal years of the Company during the term of the 2017 Plan commencing with the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2018, by an amount equal to 2% of the total number of shares issued and outstanding on the last day of the immediately preceding fiscal year (excluding issued shares reserved for future option exercise and restricted share unit vesting), and an annual increase on the first day of each of the next five fiscal years of the Company during the term of the 2017 Plan commencing with the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2023, by an amount equal to 1.5% of the total number of shares issued and outstanding on the last day of the immediately preceding fiscal year (excluding issued shares reserved for future option exercise and restricted share unit vesting)

We assumed all outstanding share incentive awards issued under the RONG360 2012 Plan and administered the assumed awards pursuant to the Global Share Plan. As of August 31, 2020, a total of 23,474,169 awards (8,995,230 of which are exercisable), including the share awards succeeding from the RONG360 2012 Share Plan, has been granted under the Global Share Plan to our directors, employees and other eligible persons, and a total of 29,808 ,422 awards (12,024,416 of which are exercisable) has been granted under the 2017 Share Incentive Plan to our directors, management executives and employees.

The following paragraphs summarize the terms of our Global Share Plan.

Types of Awards. Our Global Share Plan permits awards of share purchase rights and options.

Plan Administration. Our Global Share Plan is administered by our board of directors or by a committee of one or more members designated by our board of directors. The committee or the full board of directors, as applicable, has full authority and discretion to take any actions it deems necessary or advisable for the administration of the plan.

Award Agreement. Awards granted under our Global Share Plan are evidenced by a share purchase agreement or share option agreement that sets forth terms, conditions and limitations for each award.

Exercise Price. The plan administrator determines the purchase price or exercise price for each award, subject to the conditions set forth in our Global Share Plan.

Eligibility. We may grant awards to our employees, non-employee directors and consultants. However, we may grant incentive share options only to our employees, parent and subsidiaries.

Term of the Awards. The term of each option granted under our Global Share Plan may not exceed ten years from date of the grant. The term of share purchase rights granted under our Global Share Plan is set forth in the relevant share purchase agreement.

Vesting Schedule. In general, the plan administrator determines the vesting schedule, which is set forth in the share purchase agreement or the share option agreement.

Transfer Restrictions. Options may not be transferred in any manner by the recipient other than by will, by the laws of descent and distribution or by beneficiary designation, except as otherwise provided by the plan administrator. The plan administrator determines the transfer restrictions on shares awarded pursuant to share purchase rights, which are set forth in the share purchase agreement.

Termination. Our Global Share Plan will terminate ten years after the later of (1) the date when our board adopted our Global Share Plan or (2) the date when our board approved the most recent increase in the award pool under our Global Share Plan that was also approved by our shareholders, provided that our board may terminate the plan at any time and for any reason, subject to shareholder approval in certain cases.

The following paragraphs describe the principal terms of the 2017 Plan.

Types of Awards. The 2017 Plan permits the awards of options, restricted shares or any other type of awards that the committee decides.

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Plan Administration. Our board of directors or a committee of one or more members of the board of directors will administer the 2017 Plan. The committee or the full board of directors, as applicable, will determine the participants to receive awards, the type and number of awards to be granted to each participant, and the terms and conditions of each award grant.

Award Agreement. Awards granted under the 2017 Plan are evidenced by an award agreement that sets forth terms, conditions and limitations for each award, which may include the term of the award, the provisions applicable in the event of the grantee’s employment or service terminates, and our authority to unilaterally or bilaterally amend, modify, suspend, cancel or rescind the award.

Eligibility. We may grant awards to our employees, directors and consultants of our company. However, we may grant incentive share options only to our employees, parent and subsidiaries.

Vesting Schedule. In general, the plan administrator determines the vesting schedule, which is specified in the relevant award agreement.

Exercise of Options. The plan administrator determines the exercise price for each award, which is stated in the award agreement. The vested portion of option will expire if not exercised prior to the time as the plan administrator determines at the time of its grant. However, the maximum exercisable term is ten years from the date of a grant.

Transfer Restrictions. Awards may not be transferred in any manner by the recipient other than by will or the laws of descent and distribution, except as otherwise provided by the plan administrator.

Termination and amendment of the 2017 Plan. Unless terminated earlier, the 2017 Plan has a term of ten years. Our board of directors has the authority to amend or terminate the plan. However, no such action may adversely affect in any material way any awards previously granted unless agreed by the recipient.

The following table summarizes, as of August 31, 2021, the outstanding options that were granted to our directors, executive officers and other grantees in the aggregate under the Global Share Plan and the 2017 Plan:

    

Ordinary Shares

    

    

    

Underlying

Outstanding

Exercise Price

Name

Options

(US$/Share)

Grant Date

Expiration Date

Daqing (David) Ye

 

*

 

0.01

 

December 2017 and December 2019

 

December 2027 and December 2029

Jiayan Lu

 

*

 

0.01

 

December 2017 and December 2019

 

December 2027 and December 2029

Caofeng Liu

 

*

 

0.01

 

December 2017 and December 2019

 

December 2027 and December 2029

Yilü (Oscar) Chen

 

*

 

0.01-0.21

 

April and December 2017 and December 2019

 

April and December 2027 and December 2029

Denny Lee

 

*

 

0.01

 

November 2017 and December 2019

 

November 2027 and December 2029

Xiaoyan Zhang

 

*

 

0.01

 

February 2018 and December 2019

 

February 2028 and December 2029

Kuang-Yu (Jeff) Liao

 

*

 

0.01

 

November 2018 and December 2019

 

November 2028 and December 2029

Other grantees

 

18,767,438

 

0.00035-0.80

 

February 2013 to December 2019

 

October 2021 to December 2029

Total

 

28,475,356

 

  

 

  

 

  

*

Less than one percent of our total outstanding shares.

C.Board Practices

Board of Directors

Our board of directors currently consists of nine members. A director is not required to hold any shares in our company to qualify to serve as a director. A director may vote with respect to any contract, proposed contract, or arrangement in which he or she is materially interested. A director may exercise all the powers of the company to borrow money, mortgage its business, property and uncalled capital and issue debentures or other securities whenever money is borrowed or as security for any obligation of the company or of any third party.

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Committees of the Board of Directors

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the NYSE, we are subject to the NYSE corporate governance listing standards. However, NYSE rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from the NYSE corporate governance listing standards. For example, neither the Companies Act of the Cayman Islands nor our memorandum and articles of association requires a majority of our directors to be independent, we could include non-independent directors as members of our compensation committee and nominating committee, and our independent directors would not necessarily hold regularly scheduled meetings at which only independent directors are present. However, we currently intend to comply with the rules of the NYSE in lieu of following home country practice.

We have established an audit committee, a compensation committee and a nominating committee under the board of directors. We have adopted a charter for each of the three committees. Each committee’s members and functions are described below.

Audit Committee. Our audit committee consists of Denny Lee, Xiaoyan Zhang and Kuang-Yu (Jeff) Liao, and is chaired by Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee, Ms. Zhang and Mr. Liao satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the NYSE and meet the independence standards under Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act. We have determined that Mr. Lee qualifies as an “audit committee financial expert” as set forth under the applicable rules of the SEC. The audit committee oversees our accounting and financial reporting processes and the audits of the financial statements of our company. The audit committee is responsible for, among other things:

selecting the independent registered public accounting firm and pre-approving all auditing and non-auditing services permitted to be performed by the independent registered public accounting firm;
reviewing with the independent registered public accounting firm any audit problems or difficulties and management’s response;
reviewing and approving all proposed related party transactions, as defined in Item 404 of Regulation S-K under the Securities Act;
discussing the annual audited financial statements with management and the independent registered public accounting firm;
reviewing major issues as to the adequacy of our internal control and any special audit steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies;
annually reviewing and reassessing the adequacy of our audit committee charter;
meeting separately and periodically with management and the independent registered public accounting firm; and
reporting regularly to the board.

Compensation Committee. Our compensation committee consists of Xiaoyan Zhang, Denny Lee and Kuang-Yu (Jeff) Liao, and is chaired by Ms. Zhang. Ms. Zhang and Mr. Lee and Mr. Liao satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the NYSE. The compensation committee assists the board in reviewing and approving the compensation structure, including all forms of compensation, relating to our directors and executive officers. Our chief executive officer may not be present at any committee meeting during which his compensation is deliberated upon. The compensation committee is responsible for, among other things:

reviewing the total compensation package for our executive officers and making recommendations to the board with respect to it;

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reviewing the compensation of our non-employee directors and making recommendations to the board with respect to it; and
periodically reviewing and approving any long-term incentive compensation or equity plans, programs or similar arrangements, annual bonuses, and employee pension and welfare benefit plans.

Nominating Committee. Our nominating committee consists of Kuang-Yu (Jeff) Liao, Denny Lee and Xiaoyan Zhang, and is chaired by Mr. Liao. Mr. Liao, Ms. Zhang and Mr. Lee satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the NYSE. The nominating committee assists the board in selecting individuals qualified to become our directors and in determining the composition of the board and its committees. The nominating committee is responsible for, among other things:

recommending nominees to the board for election or re-election to the board, or for appointment to fill any vacancy on the board;
reviewing annually with the board the current composition of the board with regards to characteristics such as independence, age, skills, experience and availability of service to us;
selecting and recommending to the board the names of directors to serve as members of the audit committee and the compensation committee, as well as of the nominating committee itself; and
monitoring compliance with our code of business conduct and ethics, including reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of our procedures to ensure proper compliance.

Duties of Directors

Under Cayman Islands law, our directors have fiduciary duties, including duties of loyalty and a duty to act honestly in good faith with a view to our best interests. Our directors also have a duty to exercise the skill they actually possess and such care and diligence that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. In fulfilling their duty of care to us, our directors must ensure compliance with our memorandum and articles of association. We have the right to seek damages if a duty owed by our directors is breached. In limited exceptional circumstances, a shareholder may have the right to seek damages in our name if a duty owed by our directors is breached.

Terms of Directors and Officers

Our officers are elected by and serve at the discretion of the board of directors. Under Cayman Islands law, we are not required to hold an annual election of directors, and our directors are not subject to a term of office and hold office until such time as they are removed from office by ordinary resolution of the shareholders or by the board. A director will be removed from office automatically if, among other things, the director (i) becomes bankrupt or makes any arrangement or composition with his creditors; or (ii) is found by our company to be or becomes of unsound mind.

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D.Employees

We had 1,109, 839 and 696 employees as of December 31, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The following table sets forth the numbers of our employees categorized by function as of December 31, 2018, 2019 2020:

As of December 31,

Function:

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

Sales and marketing

 

366

 

252

 

282

Research and development

 

532

 

415

 

287

Operations

 

115

 

103

 

50

General administration

 

96

 

69

 

77

Total

 

1,109

 

839

 

696

As of December 31, 2020, we had 579 employees in Beijing, 26 employees in Shanghai, 9 employees in Shenzhen, and another 82 employees in various other places in China.

As required by laws and regulations in China, we participate in various employee social security plans that are organized by municipal and provincial governments, including housing, pension, medical insurance and unemployment insurance. We are required under Chinese law to make contributions to employee benefit plans at specified percentages of the salaries, bonuses and certain allowances of our employees, up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time.

We enter into standard confidentiality and employment agreements with our employees. The contracts with our key personnel typically include a standard non-compete covenant that prohibits the employee from competing with us, directly or indirectly, during his or her employment and for one year after the termination of his or her employment, provided that we pay compensation equal to RMB5,000 per month during the restriction period.

We believe that we maintain a good working relationship with our employees, and we have not experienced any material labor disputes. None of our employees are represented by labor unions.

E.Share Ownership

The following table sets forth information concerning the beneficial ownership of our ordinary shares on an as-converted basis as of August 31, 2021 for:

each of our directors and executive officers; and
each person known to us to beneficially own 5% or more of our ordinary shares.

The calculations in the table below are based on 423,627,480 ordinary shares outstanding as of August 31, 2021, including (i) 327,155,685 Class A ordinary shares; and (ii) 96,471,795 Class B ordinary shares.

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Beneficial ownership is determined in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC. In computing the number of shares beneficially owned by a person and the percentage ownership of that person, we have included shares that the person has the right to acquire within 60 days, including through the exercise of any option, warrant or other right or the conversion of any other security. These shares, however, are not included in the computation of the percentage ownership of any other person.

Ordinary Shares Beneficially Owned

    

Class A

    

Class B

    

Total ordinary

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