China's Bitauto unit raises $1 billion from internet giants Tencent, Baidu

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Bitauto Holdings Ltd BITA.N has raised around $1 billion from Tencent Holdings Ltd 0700.HK, Baidu Inc BIDU.O and Inc JD.O to date as it seeks to develop China's largest online car financing platform, its chief told Reuters on Thursday.

William Li, who is also chairman of electric vehicle startup Nio, did not elaborate on the fundraising.

The investments in Bitauto unit Yixin Capital, the last round completed in August 2016, are aimed at growing its business in online automobile finance and related transactions, a spokesman said.

Chinese traditionally avoid taking out loans to buy cars, although consultancy Deloitte expects that to change with 50 percent of cars to be bought on credit in China by 2020 as automakers aggressively push financing to increase sales.

In the United States, more than 80 percent of cars are bought on credit.

Reporting by Jake Spring and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Mark Potter