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Ping An Insurance set US$1 billion to acquire fintech startups

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Tinuku ~ Ping An Insurance Group hunting fintech in Singapore, Israel, and the United States. The largest insurance company in China by market value has set aside US$1 billion to seek fintech assets and health care. The company plans to use acquired technology and acquired knowledge to grow its business in China and globally.

Tinuku Ping An Insurance set US$1 billion to acquire fintech startups

Chinese insurance giant Ping An Group is committed to digital business and develops cutting-edge technology. The company is preparing to compete the mainland Chinese internet giants like Baidu, Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding, while pursuing international expansion by transforming into a technology company.

Jonathan Larsen, Chief Technology Officer of Ping An Group and Chairman of the fund, said on Thursday the Shenzhen-based company had set aside US$1 billion to acquire fintech companies in Singapore, Israel and the United States.

"The main reason for the fund is to find strategic capabilities, ideas, business models and technologies that could be valuable to the Ping An business," Larsen said.

The company and all its subsidiaries want to transform into a fully technology company within the next 10 years. A strategic step in the fast-changing business world of being a financial technology and information technology company.

Ping An launched the Hong Kong-based Global Voyager Fund in early May as a sole investor, but at the time they did not provide details of what type of startup company they wanted to buy or where to look for assets.

Larsen said the funds would be allocated in the proportion of 30% for capital to growth of companies that are at least three years old and have gone through the initial stages of a challenge with a single investment size of US$10 million to US$30 million.

Another 30% will be placed into large companies with a single investment size of between US$30 million and US$100 million, while the remaining 8-10% will be invested in startup companies through partner funds. The rest will be used for special investment opportunities such as buyout.

"We are at a point where we can selectively reflect on international opportunities and these funds can play a role in this especially through partnerships," Larsen said.

Ping An Group was established in Shenzhen in 1988 as the first joint-stock insurance company in mainland China. The company has 138 million users and operates 28 subsidiaries, including Ping An Life Insurance as the second largest life insurance company in the country.

In 2008, they established Ping An Technology as an internal information technology service provider for all operations. Ping An Technology has been increasingly involved in R&D and budget of US$1.2 billion every year to incubate new business.

"Some artificial intelligence projects we have and will be operated across the group we can move quickly," said Ericson Chan, chief executive of Ping An Technology.

Since 2015, artificial intelligence laboratory initiatives by Ping An Technology have launched dozens of projects involving facial recognition including credit approval, internet account registration, credit card comparison, verification of bank business identity, account logs, insurance and underwriting.

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