China’s First Online Insurance Firm Starts Blockchain R&D

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China’s First Online Insurance Firm Starts Blockchain R&D

China’s first online insurance company ZhongAn has officially announced its ZhongAn IT Services subsidiary. The newly founded startup will use ZhongAn and its external partners to research and develop artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud computing, and data-driven technologies.

Also read: Microsoft Rolls Out Its Cloud-Based Ethereum Consortium  

China’s First Online Insurance Firm Initiates the ‘ABCD Plan’

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance was China’s first online insurance company. Partners Ant Financial, Tencent, and Ping An founded it in 2013. Now the service has over 460 million customers and 5.8 billion policies under its management. Then in the summer of 2015, it raised 5.78 billion yuan ($931.3 million USD).  

The company is now focusing on its “ABCD plan” which aims to harness AI, blockchain, cloud management, and data-driven applications. Soon, the ZhongAn Technology subsidiary will launch its services using the blockchain cloud platform.

“With the creation of ZhongAn Technology, we are developing a new fintech ecosystem, integrating technological research with financial innovation,” said Xing Jiang, ZhongAn’s CTO and chairman. “We aim to be an accelerator for both finance and healthcare sectors.”

Jin Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ZhongAn, said as an internet-based company the firm has created its own ecosystem, tailored to clients. So far, the company has formed two pillars with its customer base: a “connector and a stabilizer.” Now Chen says ZhongAn’s third pillar will be at the forefront of accelerating financial technology, amplifying its benefits to become a “commercial driving force.”      

ZhongAn Technology’s Blockchain-Based Open Platform

ZhongAn said the company has already been researching and developing an open blockchain platform. ZhongAn created its blockchain protocol to enable insurance transactions and cushion the growth of its insurance ecosystem. Moreover, the company says the secure platform provides connections between business partners and data of operations within a distributed ledger.

“The open technological platform has much lower technical doorsill and threshold in development and maintenance, reducing barriers to business cooperation, and improving operation efficiency,” the company stated.

ZhongAn Technology and twenty like-minded business partners will create a collaborative alliance. Members include representatives from financial institutions, insurance, construction & decoration, consumer finance, logistics, payment, security, healthcare, and retail services. The group has already established the Shanghai Blockchain Enterprise Development Alliance. The group says it is dedicated to promoting blockchain-focused research and development in China.

ZhongAn’s Blockchain Utilizes The Ethereum Protocol

ethereum_nav-bar-logoZhongAn’s website gives a lot of descriptions of the various use cases its blockchain protocol will offer. The Chinese online insurance firm uses the Ethereum blockchain for its operations.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said he’s pleased to see ZhongAn implement the technology he helped create.

“ZhongAn Technology has integrated our technology to build an open platform and the Chinese insurance industry is actively exploring the applications of blockchain technology,” he said. “I hope that more and more Chinese companies can tap into this field and help develop this new area.”

In addition to the blockchain alliance and multiple R&D projects, the company is partnering with Fudan University School of Computer Sciences and Technology. The organizations will also develop a “blockchain and information security laboratory.”

What do you think about the new company ZhongAn Technology and its goals? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, ZhongAn, and Ethereum websites.


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