A couple of weeks ago we published a podcast with the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen. I want to highlight some of the key takeaways today because I think they are a truly amazing company and some of these highlights might have been lost in translation.
Back in June, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, broke the news that ZhongAn had filed an IPO application to the Hong Kong stock exchange targeting a listing as early as the end of 2017, raising up to US$1.5 billion. If the deal goes through, ZhongAn will be the first insurtech company to be listed in Hong Kong. It will also likely become one of the most valuable fintech companies on the planet.
With that background here are the five key takeaways from my interview with Jeffrey Chen.
1. ZhongAn is Backed By Some of China’s Largest Companies
Ping An Insurance is ranked by Forbes as the #1 insurance company in the world. They are an early backer of ZhongAn. The other early backers were Alibaba and Tencent, the two most valuable companies in China as measured by market cap. This would be like a fintech startup in the US receiving initial funding from Apple, Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. Truly impressive.
2. Their First Product Was a Simple Insurance Offering for Alibaba Merchants
ZhongAn’s first product was called Zhong Le Bao, a type of e-commerce returns insurance. It was launched on Alibaba’s Taobao platform and was aimed at covering merchant shipping losses when consumers were dissatisfied with product purchases. It also allowed merchants to bypass Alibaba’s deposit requirements. [Read more…]