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OneConnect Wields Government Data For SMB Lending

Chinese firm OneConnect, a blockchain-based small business (SMB) lending platform owned by insurance giant Ping An, has launched a new portal to facilitate SMB lending in the Guangdong province, the company announced on Monday (Jan. 6), Following OneConnect's recent initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, the company has debuted the new platform in cooperation with the Guangdong province and its Governor Ma Xingrui.

The collaboration between the blockchain small business lender and the Guangdong government sees OneConnect utilizing the province's "digital government" data resources, and reflects "the deep integration of digital government and FinTech," the announcement said. The platform develops credit profiles for local SMBs to connect them to trade finance, supply chain finance and intellectual property finance, while mitigating risk for financial institutions.

To date, the platform has access to data from 26 government departments to develop its small business credit profiles, and can analyze risk of more than 11 million companies. The announcement said that the portal is already collaborating with 129 financial institutions in the province, and will launch 319 financial products.

During an event to launch the platform, Governor Ma inaugurated the platform's so-called "Intelligent Matching" technology to verify and safeguard data via blockchain. The event also saw the platform formally accept and grant its first unsecured small business loan using blockchain, which involved Huizhou Shenghua Industry Co. receiving more than $160,000 in supply chain finance from financial institution ICBC, a transaction that took 10 minutes, the announcement said.

Last month, OneConnect reduced its IPO by nearly 50 percent, a blow to its investor, SoftBank, which had previously invested in the company via its Vision Fund. A stock exchange filing at the time revealed that the company would seek $299 million, and a valuation of $3.6 billion during its float, significantly lower than its previous fundraising target of $504 million.

The company ultimately raised $312 million. Global Equity Research Analyst Arun George described the move as "a red flag" for shareholders.

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