One of the comments you sometimes hear about blockchain in China is there’s plenty activity, but not so many consortia. In the West IBM and R3 are the most prominent ringleaders for enterprise blockchain consortia. ZhongAn Technology is taking up the baton in China.
The Chinese tech company is a subsidiary of ZhongAn Insurance which was jointly set up by Ant Financial (part of Alibaba), Tencent, and PingAn. The insurer is known for its billions of microinsurance policies. The technology subsidiary has placed all these policies on a blockchain.
Some of ZhongAn Technology’s initiatives aim at extending the parent’s insurance reach. For example, two months ago the company announced it entered into data sharing agreements with more than a hundred Chinese hospitals to automate insurance claims. A month later it revealed the completion a Proof of Concept for a reinsurance network with state-owned China Re Group.
But ZhongAn is also actively participating in consortia which are more loosely related to insurance.
The company is part of the Shanghai Blockchain Enterprise Development Promotion Alliance which has more than fifty members. The Alliance intends to promote technical co-creation as well as sharing learning experiences and cooperation.
The organisation has several sub-groups, one of them focuses on anti-counterfeiting traceability. This week they unveiled a diamond provenance consortium. However, the twenty-member consortium isn’t limited to just one product. ZhongAn says it’s already active in agriculture and plans to support medicine and alcohol in the future. Given ZhongAn’s speed, don’t be surprised if that means this year.
Another Alliance group is called the anti-fraud alliance. A common issue involves individuals taking out long-term loans with multiple institutions. So this blockchain will share credit data with financial institutions. They already have eleven contracted members with thirty in negotiations.
A third Alliance group plans to launch in the next week or so. Called the ‘Bad Assets Service Alliance’, this one targets non-performing loans. Often poor creditors will have debts with multiple institutions which likely means several credit collection agencies are chasing them. This initiative aims to break down the data silos between the collection agencies to improve repayment rates. They expect to launch with ten financial institutions and thirty collection companies.
Ping An Insurance is a part owner of Zhong An Insurance. And Ping An also has a technology subsidiary. For example, Ping An’s OneConect is involved in developing the blockchain-based Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform.
Perhaps there are Chinese Walls for the ZhongAn board meetings.