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Ping An fintech arm to expand in BRI nations

By Zhou Mo and Pei Pei in Shenzhen, Guangdong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-12 10:25
[Photo/Sipa]

OneConnect, the financial technology arm of Chinese insurance giant Ping An, is ramping up efforts to extend its footprint to more Belt and Road economies with an aim of helping their traditional banking industry transform and upgrade.

The US-listed company said it is striving to promote industrial innovation with the help of artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and other advanced technologies.

"We hope to take advantage of our technological strengths to help financial institutions increase their revenue, improve their services and lower their cost and risks," Dai Ke, the chief strategy officer of OneConnect, said.

Since its founding in 2015, OneConnect has been cooperating with customers in 10 countries and regions across the world, ranging from Southeast Asia to Europe.

The company started its global expansion in 2018 in Southeast Asia, setting up a subsidiary in Singapore. Since then, it has expanded into Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries in the region.

Last year, OneConnect announced a partnership with UBX, the fintech subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines, to use blockchain technology to offer financial services for micro outfits, along with small-and medium-sized enterprises in the country.

It also teamed up with Indonesia's Sinar Mas in building a multifinance platform to provide vehicle loans to millions of people in Southeast Asia's most populous nation.

The company has expanded its services to Europe, offering technology solutions through finleap connect, a business unit of Berlin, Germany-headquartered fintech ecosystem finleap.

"We will continue our exploration in Belt and Road economies to contribute to the digital transformation of the world's financial industry," Dai said.

Operating revenue of OneConnect increased 72.3 percent year-on-year to 1.55 billion yuan ($222 million) during the first three quarters of 2019. Its net loss stood at 1.05 billion yuan.

The company said it is currently at the development stage of "customer accumulation" and is set to move on to the next stage of "rapid growth."

The profit loss is an "active selection" of the company to lay a solid foundation for its future growth, it said.

A report by PwC said that among a range of fields, 81 percent of bank CEOs in the world pay most attention to technological development.

Han Kaichuang, deputy head of Tencent Finance Institute, said traditional financial institutions are pouring more and more investment into technology as they need to enhance their business development capabilities, explore new demand, reduce costs and improve work procedures.

"Technology enterprises will also deepen cooperation with financial institutions to provide technological support for their business upgrade. Meanwhile, they will also strive to enhance efficiency of technology transfer through innovative financial ways to meet their own need of development," Han told the 18th China Economic Forum held in Beijing in December.

Shares of OneConnect in the New York Stock Exchange climbed 6.22 percent to close on Feb 10 at a two-week high of $13.32.

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