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China's 'First Web-Only Insurer' Launches Blockchain Research Efforts

A web-based insurance firm in China is investing in new blockchain product development, with an eye to build a services platform around the tech.

Nov 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:35 p.m. UTC

A web-based insurance firm in China is investing in new blockchain product development, with an eye to build a services platform around the technology.

Zhong An Online P&C Insurance Co. announced today that it was creating a new technology-focused subsidiary that will develop products and services in the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and blockchain. The firm has been described in the media as China's first online-only insurance company.

The new subsidiary will be building on progress that already exists today. Zhong An said that it is developing a platform for insurance transactions using ethereum as a basis. Further, Zhong An said it was working with local firms in Shanghai as part of the Shanghai Blockchain Industry Development Research Alliance.

The company said that is is also working with the Fudan University School of Computer Sciences and Technology on additional research efforts. Zhong An said that it would co-found a research and development lab alongside Fudan University staff, with a particular focus on security.

Zhong An CEO Jin Chen said in a statement:

"Not only will we develop technology, but our aim is to make technology become a commercial driving force, to put it at the core of our business ecosystem."

The launch is perhaps another example of the insurance firm flexing its financial muscle. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Zhong An was looking to raise as much as $2bn by going public. Zhong An was reportedly valued at $8bn in a then-recent funding round.

Image via Shutterstock

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