China’s OneConnect Aims To Make Trade Tracking Easier With Blockchain

Blockchain-based small business (SMB) lending platform OneConnect Financial Technology, which is owned by insurance giant Ping An, is partnering with the China Merchants Port Group (CMPort) on a system to serve one of the country’s biggest trading hubs.

The blockchain-based platform will have five databases, providing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area with information from Chinese custom services, port operators, logistics companies, financial institutions and export and import firms. The goal is to create a more efficient tracking system that can also help lower costs, with financial services available to trade companies.

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“Since the central government’s directive to develop blockchain technology from last year, Shenzhen customs, China Merchants Group and Ping An have started to work together to study blockchain applications in cross-border logistics,” said Xiaoying Chen, director of Shenzhen Customs, according to a report by the China News Service, a state media publication.

OneConnect is one of the four FinTech unicorns owned by state-backed Ping An group. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange late last year, but had to significantly reduce its IPO size, raising $359 million at a market value of $3.63 billion.

However, OneConnect reported that its revenue increased in 2019 by 64.7 percent year over year to RMB2,328 million from RMB1,413 million, while revenue from third-party customers increased 107.3 percent year over year to RMB1,034 million from RMB499 million.

Earlier this year, the company launched a new portal to facilitate SMB lending in the Guangdong province, utilizing “digital government” data resources — along with its own advanced financial technology in blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data — to create credit profiles for local SMBs to connect with trade finance, supply chain finance and intellectual property finance. The portal also aims to lessen potential risk for financial institutions.

The platform currently has access to data in 213 categories from 26 government departments, allowing it to create a corporate profile and a risk evaluation for more than 11 million companies. It has already connected with 129 financial institutions in the province, including ICBC, China Construction Bank and Ping An Bank, while launching over 300 financial products.