The start of the new year is the perfect time to look back at 2018, the year that marked the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up and the 30th anniversary of Ping An.
1. The “Three-village Project” - making headway in poverty alleviation
In 2018, Ping An launched the “Three-village Project” at Ping An’s 30th anniversary ceremony.
The project comprises three programs: the Village Officer program, Village Doctor program and the Village Teacher program to facilitate China’s nation-wide poverty alleviation campaign. Through the Project Ping An launched a “smart poverty alleviation” platform enabled by start-of-the-art technology to broaden the reach of the Three-village Project in welfare, health and education.
By the end of December 2018, the “Three-village Project” had been implemented in nine province-level regions, including Guangxi, Jiangxi, Gansu, Henan, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet.
Through the Village Officer Program, Ping An redefined poverty alleviation from the simple donation model to financing rural industries for the betterment of people’s lives, by granting over RMB5 billion in funds for poverty alleviation and underwriting the single largest corporate poverty relief bond in China.
In the Village Doctor Program, Ping An brought artificial intelligence (AI) and remote diagnosis technology to villagers in rural parts of China and improved distribution of resources in rural areas, with a view to supporting or upgrading more than 400 rural clinics.
In the Village Teacher Program, Ping An supported or upgraded around 400 rural schools, and helped to train nearly 5,000 rural teachers. Over 200,000 teachers and students have benefitted from the online remote classrooms.
In addition, Ping An encouraged employees to participate in community service and volunteering activities, and established the “Ping An Volunteer Association”.
In 2018 Ping An was named as one of the “Most Respected Companies of China” for the 17th consecutive year and one of “Asia’s Most Honored Companies” for the fifth time.
2. Financing private businesses and supporting the real economy
In 2018, our financial services subsidiaries such as Ping An Bank, Ping An Securities, Ping An Trust, and Ping An Asset Management introduced various relief measures to support private enterprises and the economy through stock rights, bonds, and special asset management plans, helping many clients and stakeholders through financial difficulties.
Ping An Bank is one of the large and medium-sized commercial banks that supported private enterprises by granting about RMB80 billion in new loans for private enterprises throughout the year.
Ping An Securities established a special taskforce for access to financing for private enterprises, and a special asset management plan of RMB20 billion to help enterprises by working with local governments and state-owned enterprises and underwriting special bonds for such enterprises.
3. Blockhain application takes the lead in the Belt and Road Initiative
Ping An’s applied blockchain technology made breakthroughs internationally in 2018, unlocking remarkable achievements in the fields of finance, trade, healthcare, urban governance, environmental protection, and agriculture in 2018. Ping An applied its blockchain technology to the platforms of OneConnect, Smart City, and medical insurance technology as well as various ecosystem databases, and established the largest commercial blockchain application platform in the world, with a transaction scale of over RMB2 trillion in 2018.
In addition, Ping An applied blockchain to the countries and regions in the “Belt and Road Initiative” and to the “eTradeConnect” platform in Hong Kong, the world’s first blockchain based trade platform sponsored by regulators. By connecting Hong Kong with the international trade hubs of Europe, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, and Bohai Bay and establishing a “virtual corridor” for trade finance, the platform helps bridge the gaps in international trade and cross-border finance in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.
4. Outstanding achievements in AI research and AI application
In 2018, Ping An’s AI technology came first place in various international contests, achieving world leading breakthroughs in the fields of finance and investment, healthcare, and macroeconomics research.
In AI research, our medical imaging research ranked first in LUNA (Lung Nodule Analysis), an authoritative evaluation of medical imaging worldwide, breaking world records in “lung nodule detection” and “false-positive screening”.
Furthermore, other technologies such as Ping An Imaging Platform, COCO-Text assignment text positioning, and GammaLab machine reading comprehension also ranked first in major contests worldwide.
In applied AI, innovative models and tools, such as the AI interview system, AI training, and AI secretary service were rolled out by Ping An Life Insurance to millions of agents. The AI interview tool significantly improved the quality and matching in agent recruitment; by implementing the training model of “targeted interviews for specific persons”, the retaining rate and production capacity of agents increased dramatically.
AI customer service has been applied to Ping An’s property insurance and life insurance businesses, providing personalized services to customers anytime, anywhere. The replacement rate of machines to manual labor reached 36%, and is expected to exceed 90% in 2019.
Ping An has been working with Professor Thomas J. Sargent, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, applying AI to research and forecasts in macroeconomics and trends in financial industry, achieving monumental breakthroughs.
5. World leading fintech application enables traditional core businesses
2018 was a defining year for Ping An in fintech innovation and application. Technology has enabled our core financial services of banking, insurance, asset management and across our business lines. It also helped Ping An increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer experience, strengthen risk management, and sharpen the group’s competitive edge.
Ping An is the first in the world to apply micro-expression recognition technology in its lending arm. Over 500 billion yuan in loans was facilitated using the technology. It cut credit losses by 60% and shortened the approval time from 5 days to 2 hours.
The auto insurance service also leveled up in 2018. The “510 speedy assessment” model helped the business delivery over 90% of accident assessments within 10 minutes in more than 10 million auto insurance claims last year. Meanwhile, the “smart rapid claim” system lowered the costs of vehicle damage claims by 10% with a self-help claims rate at 60%.
By combining the traditional risk control systems of the banks, the law of large numbers in insurance risk management and blockchain technology, Lufax developed a loan service model unique in the world.
Based on four core technologies, namely biometrics, AI, blockchain and cloud computing, OneConnect provided intelligent solutions in sales, risk management, products, services and operations to 483 banks, 42 insurance companies and 2,400 non-bank financial institutions nationwide. In 2018 OneConnect started introducing the technological solutions to overseas markets. Today, OneConnect is serving financial institutions in Thailand and Indonesia, among other South East Asian markets, putting OneConnect on the map of global competitors in fintech.
6. Breakthrough in applied medical technology facilitates healthcare system reform
In 2018, Ping An achieved major breakthroughs in applying its healthcare technologies to the reform and construction of the national healthcare system, building an end-to-end intelligent medical integrated service management platform.
Ping An’s intelligent medical imaging can accurately identify 35 types of cancers and chronic diseases, covering radiology, pathology and retinal multi-modal images of nine major systems in the human body. It won first place in three international competitions and was put to use in 61 cities across the country. The prediction accuracy of intelligent disease prevention and control reached 97.6%, covering over 20 million patients with critical illnesses and more than 200 million people with chronic diseases. In addition, the first “AI City Health Index” was released together with Tsinghua University.
AI-assisted clinical diagnosis and treatment can support the auxiliary diagnosis of 700 diseases and the adjuvant treatment of 35 common diseases, with an accuracy rate of more than 95%. The technology is widely applied in primary care providers.
A General Intelligence Medical Assistant Decision-Making Competition was co-hosted with Zhongshan Hospital, a comprehensive teaching hospital affiliated to Fudan University. The AI-assisted treatment group scored 86.2, beating the traditional manual medical treatment group’s score of 51.5.
At present, Ping An's medical knowledge graph covers over 10 million pieces of (data-level) medical evidence, including medical literature, medical guidelines, and classic cases. It has established five databases, including the world's largest drug database, disease database, prescription / treatment database, health factors database, and doctors / medical institutions database. Under the PPP service model, Ping An built an open service platform covering nearly 50,000 hospitals and clinics.
As the world's largest online portal to healthcare services, Ping An Good Doctor’s AI doctor handles an average of over 500,000 medical consultations per day, and it has started to build one-stop shops for medical and healthcare services along the Belt and Road.
Ping An Medical and Healthcare Management provided services in over 280 cities; the pathological quality control AI technology created by Ping An Healthcare Technology was widely adopted in reputable Grade-A tertiary hospitals in Shanghai; and Ping An jointly released the first AI life expectancy prediction model with the China Population and Development Research Center.
7. Smart Cities in the making: building a smart future with over 100 provinces and cities
In 2018, Ping An, with a view to "serving the nation, serving the society, serving the community", leveraged our mature and internationally leading advanced technologies in AI, blockchain, cognitive AI, and cloud computing to provide smart city solutions across the country.
To date, Ping An has brought the “1+N” smart city platform system to more than 100 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Nanning, Tianjin, Xiamen, and various regions along the Belt and Road.
The system covers smart finance, smart administration, smart transportation, smart life, smart healthcare, smart customs, smart education, smart agriculture, smart judiciary, smart environmental protection, smart community management, etc. The solutions have benefited hundreds of millions of citizens, supported provincial and municipal governments in addressing a wide array of pain points and difficulties in urban governance, improved the efficiency and effectiveness of administration, reduced the cost of urban development, and enhanced citizen satisfaction. It has also won acclaim from provincial and municipal governments and citizens.
8. Corporate governance: upgrading the "Executive + Matrix" decision-making mechanism
Over the past 20 years, Ping An has continuously explored a comprehensive financial operating model that meets both international standards and China's domestic conditions, and succeeded in building a relatively mature management system, mechanism and architecture at the group level to support long-term sustainable and healthy growth, while pivoting towards a future in the technology sector.
In 2018, Ping An ranked 29th in the Fortune 500 list, 10th in the Forbes Global 2000, 6th among global financial groups by market cap, and 1st by market cap and by brand among insurance companies worldwide.
It is also in 2018 that Ping An Group further clarified its strategy of transforming from "Finance + Technology" to "Finance + Ecosystem". Facing the opportunities and challenges of our times and of this strategic transformation, and in compliance with the risk requirements as a global systematically important financial institution, Ping An drew on the best practices of global corporate governance, in the context of China's domestic landscape, and added three joint chief executive officers to the current "Executive + Matrix" decision-making and management mechanism of the group's executive committee. The new roles lead as a team and are responsible for the three major business lines in comprehensive personal financial services, comprehensive corporate finance and technology business with respective expertise. This further deepened and upgraded the governance and decision-making mechanism of "collective decision-making, division of labor by expertise and matrix management".
Ping An’s track record of growth and achievements through the years has proved that the structure of the three business lines and the decision-making mechanism of "Executive + Matrix" are valuable and reasonable, and that the management model has been effective. It is vital for Ping An's strategic transformation, overall risk management and sustainable and healthy growth.
The upgrading of the management decision-making mechanism is a new starting point in a new era, with clearer positioning of the executives, clearer roles and responsibilities, more focused outlook and better coordination, which will further strengthen Ping An's operational and risk management, facilitate the "Finance + Ecosystem" strategy and bring Ping An closer to the goal of a "technology enables finance, technology enables ecosystem and ecosystem promotes finance in turn" model.
9. Talent knows no borders: Mr. Yuansiong Lee won the government "Friendship Award"
In 2018, Mr. Yuansiong Lee, co-CEO of Ping An Group and a foreign expert in China, was awarded the 2018 "Friendship Award" by the Chinese government for his outstanding contribution in the innovation and development of China's insurance industry and the reform of the national healthcare system. He is the fourth foreign expert in Ping An to have received the award.
To date, all four foreign experts in China's financial sector honored with the "Friendship Award" are from Ping An.
At present, over 50% of the top 100 executives in Ping An Group are from overseas with management or professional experience from the world's top financial institutions or other top multinationals.
Ping An's six technology innovation research institutes and more than 20 research laboratories have attracted a large number of talents from leading high-tech companies at home and abroad, with over 500 top scientists working for Ping An.
10. Incubating unicorns and startups in Ping An
In 2018, Ping An continued to explore innovative business models in the fields of financial technology and healthcare technology, creating a number of innovative technology companies from scratch in the process.
The technology units saw steady and rapid growth through rounds of financing via an "open platform + open market" business model, which in turn fuels their business potential. The financing totaled US$6.9 billion, at a total valuation of nearly US$70 billion, with well-known investors hailing from Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia.
Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co., Ltd. ("Ping An Good Doctor") was listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange, making it the first listed internet healthtech company in the world, and it is currently exploring development avenues in overseas markets.
OneConnect’s blockchain technology and other technological patents make it a leader in the field globally. It has completed the first round of financing and successfully opened its Singapore subsidiary.
Ping An Medical & Healthcare Management has completed A-round financing and is now the highest valued company in the field of “big healthcare” in China.
As China's largest online wealth management platform, Lufax Holdings won favor of global investors in its latest round of funding.