TRAILBLAZING TECH: Ping An expands regional footprint with a fintech focus
Sets up OneConnect in Singapore to act as regional headquarters
Nov 19, 2018, 06:47 ET
SINGAPORE, Nov. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new player in the fintech space here is making waves for its pioneering work developing comprehensive end-to-end solutions for banks and non-banking financial institutions. OneConnect, a subsidiary of China's insurance giant, Ping An, officially opens in Singapore this month and is set to expand within the region at a rapid pace.
Even though it is the early days for OneConnect Singapore, they have already received overwhelming regional customer interest in their technology products, namely blockchain and a few AI (Artificial Intelligence) innovations such as facial recognition, voice print and AI-based credit risk control that are in demand from countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. A OneConnect business entity in Indonesia is also in the pipeline with its own data centre to handle the projected volume of business. A separate data centre for Singapore is currently being built, with completion scheduled for the end of December 2018.
"These are exciting times and we're proud to be given such a huge vote of confidence in our innovation work for the fintech space, even though we just opened for business here," says Ms. Tan Bin Ru, CEO of OneConnect Singapore.
"We intend to build a diverse and inclusive workplace culture as is our tradition. Despite our very Chinese roots, more than 30% of employees at Ping An are not Mandarin-speakers and we expect these numbers to grow, given that our focus countries are not primarily Mandarin speaking."
The OneConnect Singapore office is located at Mapletree Business City and officially opened on 19 November 2018. The area spans 15,000 square feet and includes a state-of-the-art Customer Experience Centre (CEC) showcasing some of the technologies that power many financial institutions in China including 483 banks, 42 insurers, and nearly 2500 non-bank financial institutions.
Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said, "We are pleased to welcome OneConnect to the fintech ecosystem in Singapore. The OneConnect platform offers advanced technical capabilities that leverage AI, blockchain, biometrics and cloud computing, all of which are highly relevant ingredients to support financial institutions on their journey of innovation to serve customers better. We believe that the opening of the OneConnect regional HQ and Innovation Lab in Singapore will add much vibrancy to the Fintech ecosystem and create many collaboration opportunities for the financial services industry in Singapore and the broader ASEAN region."
BRINGING DEEP TECH TO LIFE
Unlike many innovation labs that showcase prototypes that are still in the trial stage, all of OneConnect's products on display are already live or customised for local markets based on hugely successful products in China used by the Ping An Group companies as well as other financial institutions. The CEC showcases six booths for guests to engage in different types of tech used in various applications in the insurance and banking businesses.
Visitors to the site will have a unique opportunity to interact with and experience firsthand some of the actual tech that are usually just buzzwords: namely AI, blockchain, cloud computing and biometrics to name a few. For example, at one booth, they can test out biometric technology such as voice and facial recognition in a simulated account-opening scenario. Another booth allows them to try OneConnect's signature AI-based auto-insurance claim system; an advanced AI engine that automatically calculates the insurance claim amount based on videos and photos of a damaged vehicle. With the help of such technology, Ping An has been able to handle 98% of its auto insurance claims within the same day.
Powering OneConnect Singapore's innovations is a team of full stack tech talents including data scientists, developers and solution architects. Beyond development work to address the needs of regional clients, the team will also be researching cross-blockchain frameworks, natural language processing, micro-expression recognition, and more. The team here is expected to grow to 200 people at a steady rate.
"As a nation, we share the same ambition as Ping An Group - to build new technologies that will tackle problem statements beyond our home countries of Singapore and China. Our growing AI ecosystem will enable OneConnect's regional headquarters and innovation lab to plug, play, and partner, creating cool technology and regional roles for Singaporeans," said Mr. Ang Chin Tah, Director, Infocomms and Media, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).
CONTRIBUTING TO THE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY
As a company that is rooted in Chinese heritage, OneConnect, along with its parent company Ping An, places great emphasis on the value of education. Hence, one of its first orders of business was to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with homegrown tertiary institution, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). In collaboration, they will offer SIM students a brand new Fintech studies curriculum dubbed Ping An Academy.
Consisting of 120 hours of four modules learnt over a year, OneConnect's curriculum for SIM will lead to a certification in fintech studies. The company is currently in the process of having this certificate accredited by the Ministry of Education.
This is the first time that such a course is made available externally to the public. Other financial organisations are known to offer such courses only internally to their own employees.
"We see significant synergy between SIM and OneConnect Singapore, with both organisations set on being future ready through innovation and customer-centric products. While OneConnect is in the forefront of technology innovation delivering leading financial technology solutions, SIM has been innovating and focusing its education and training model on nurturing industry-relevant graduates," says Ms. Euleen Goh, first Female Chair of the SIM Governing Council.
Under this collaboration, SIM students will be trained by experienced fintech professionals from Ping An, apply their knowledge and skills through internships, and be given the opportunity to gain job placement in OneConnect Singapore and other Ping An subsidiaries.
Ms. Goh says, "This will produce a much-needed talent pipeline for the growing Fintech industry. I am confident that this collaboration will benefit not only our two organisations but also the larger community."
Issued for and on behalf of OneConnect Financial Technology by Min Inc.
OneConnect is a leading fintech SaaS provider of advanced technology-enabled business solutions to small and medium-sized financial institutions. Its solutions are based on world-class technologies including AI, blockchain, cloud platform, and biometrics identification. Currently, OneConnect has 101 products in four business disciplines including Digital Banking Solutions, Digital Insurance Solutions, Digital Investment Solutions, and SaaS Cloud Platform, covering sales, product development, risk management, operations and technology.
These solutions have coverage of all major financial industries as well as front, middle and back office functions.
Some of OneConnect's major achievements include an accuracy of 99.8% in facial recognition and 99%+ in VPR. They are world-class in voiceprint, microexpression and NLP recognition. OneConnect is also one of the earliest companies to develop and apply blockchain technology in China, exploring 12 application scenarios for finance, medical healthcare, customs, trade, real estate and automotive sectors.
As of the end of 2018 Q3, OneConnect has served over 483 banks, 42 insurers, and nearly 2500 non-bank financial institutions with advanced fintech solutions. Earlier this year, they completed a Round A financing with a post-investment valuation of 7.5 billion dollars.
For more information, please visit www.oneconnectft.com.sg
About Ping An Group
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. ("Ping An") is a world-leading technology-powered personal financial services group. With 170 million customers and 459 million Internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world. Under its 'pan financial assets' strategy the company offers customers insurance, banking and asset management through its 'finance + technology' platform. Under its 'pan healthcare' strategy the company uses a 'finance + ecosystem' platform to offer Internet users five ecosystems, covering financial services, healthcare, auto services, real estate services and Smart City services. Ping An is committed to investing in innovative technologies in fintech, AI and cloud to provide customers and Internet users with innovative and simple products and services. As China's first joint stock insurance company, Ping An Group is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate reporting and corporate governance. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Ping An ranked 10th in Forbes' 2018 Global 2000, and is ranked 29th in Fortune Magazine's 2018 Global 500 Leading Companies. Ping An also ranked 43rd in 2018 WPP Millward Brown's BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands.
For more information, please visit www.pingan.cn
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