ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co., the first online insurance company in China, announced last week it has created a technology company dubbed ZhongAn Information and Technology Services Co.
The new company will explore technology innovation focusing on artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing, ZhongAn Online said in a press release. The company plans to roll out services on a blockchain cloud platform.
"With the creation of ZhongAn Technology, we are developing a new FinTech ecosystem, integrating technological research with financial innovation. We aim to be an accelerator for both finance and health care sectors," said Xing Jiang, chief technology officer of ZhongAn and chairman of ZhongAn Technology, in the release. According to Jin Chen, CEO of ZhongAn, with the new business, the company is aiming to become an accelerator of technology. The new business will not only develop technology but make it a commercial driving force.
ZhongAn was founded in 2013 by Ant Financial, Tencent and Ping An, as China's first online-only insurance company. Over the past three years, it has accumulated 460 million users and issued over 5.8 billion insurance policies. It’s red hot growth has made it a leader in China's FinTech industry, the company noted. ZhongAn Technology has also inked a partnership with Fudan University School of Computer Sciences and Technology to form a blockchain and information security lab.
The move comes at a time when China is at the forefront of the FinTech movement. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration said in its “2016 Top Markets Report Financial Technology” that Asia will hold sway over other regions. According to the report, China will be the biggest export market for payments next year; Japan will be the biggest exporter for FinTech overall. Though banks may be the juggernauts in the space at the moment, it is the FinTech upstarts that are expanding the size of the payments market in general and that are about to make a real dent in bank margins. The report stated that the online payments sector, with an emphasis on mobile payments, should be on the vanguard of that FinTech revolution.