The previously alleged 'perleidid' genus Peltoperleidus is a stem-neopterygian fish taxon with two or three horizontal rows of notably deepened flank scales. Until recently, members of this genus were known only from the Ladinian (late Middle Triassic) or near the Anisian/Ladinian boundary (~242 Ma) in southern Switzerland and northern Italy. Here, I report the discovery of a new species of the genus, Peltoperleidus asiaticus sp. nov., based on three well-preserved specimens from the Anisian (early Middle Triassic, ~244 Ma) of Luoping, eastern Yunnan, China. The discovery extends the geological range of Peltoperleidus by approximately two million years and documents the first record of the genus in Asia. Similar to its relatives (represented by P. macrodontus) from Europe, P. asiaticus sp. nov. is likely a small-sized durophagous predator with dentition combining grasping and crushing morphologies. Results of a cladistic analysis unite four species of Peltoperleidus as a monophyletic group within the Louwoichthyiformes, and suggest that the presence of two horizontal rows of notably deepened scales was independently evolved in Peltoperleidus and another stem-neopterygian taxon Altisolepis. P. asiaticus sp. nov. is nested at the base of Peltoperleidus, and a new family Peltoperleididae is proposed for the genus, contrasting the previous placement of Peltoperleidus in the poorly defined, paraphyletic 'Perleididae'. Comparative studies of the basal peltoperleidid from China with its younger relatives from Europe provide new insights into the evolutionary origin and paleogeographic distribution of this clade.