China's Ping An seeks fintech, healthcare assets

Ping An plans to use the acquired technology and know-how to grow its business in China, said Mr Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group's chief innovation officer and chairman of the fund.
Ping An plans to use the acquired technology and know-how to grow its business in China, said Mr Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group's chief innovation officer and chairman of the fund.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Shenzhen-based insurer looks to US, Israel and S'pore to use $1.4b investment fund

HONG KONG • Ping An Insurance Group, China's largest insurer by market value, is scouting for fintech and healthcare assets in the United States, Israel and Singapore, as it looks to use a US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) investment fund, a company executive said.

The Shenzhen-based insurer plans to use the acquired technology and know-how to grow its business in China, Mr Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group's chief innovation officer and chairman of the fund, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"The primary rationale for the fund is strategic... to find capabilities, ideas, business models and technologies that can be valuable to Ping An," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

Ping An launched the Hong Kong-based Global Voyager Fund in early May as the sole investor, but did not give details of which types of start-up companies it wanted to buy, or where it would look for assets.

The fund will allocate 30 per cent of the capital to growth companies that are at least three years old and have been through the early-stage challenges, with a single investment size of US$10 million to US$30 million, Mr Larsen said.

Another 30 per cent will be deployed to bigger firms with a single investment size of between US$30 million and US$100 million, while a further eight to 10 per cent will be invested in early-stage companies via partner funds.

The rest will be used for special investment opportunities such as buyouts, said Mr Larsen, formerly the global head of retail banking and mortgages at Citigroup, who joined Ping An in May.

He added that although Ping An's customer franchise is overwhelmingly Chinese, the group may follow in the footsteps of the country's largest financial institutions.

"We are at a point where we can very selectively contemplate international opportunities. And the fund could play a role in that, mostly through partnerships," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'China's Ping An seeks fintech, healthcare assets'. Print Edition | Subscribe