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Artificial intelligence

Ping An to help spread adoption of artificial intelligence in China’s financial services industry

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 July, 2017, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 July, 2017, 9:44pm

Ping An Insurance (Group) plans to accelerate adoption of artificial intelligence technologies across mainland China by bringing its latest advances to other financial services providers, even ahead of the company’s own subsidiaries.

Jessica Tan, chief operating officer at Ping An, said in a press conference on Friday that the strategy would help “level the playing field”, enabling smaller financial services companies to stay competitive in an industry where the country’s internet giants are rapidly expanding.

After pilot testing at Ping An-backed Lufax, the mainland’s biggest peer-to-peer lender, and at subsidiary Ping An Property and Casualty Insurance Company, the group wants to make its so-called voiceprint recognition system available simultaneously to its call centre operation and to other financial institutions.

“We are going to offer it to others even before the rest of the group’s companies,” Tan said.

That would differ from the initial strategy employed by Ping An, operator of the second-largest life insurance business on the mainland, for its facial recognition system that was first deployed at 17 of its 28 subsidiaries.

The group expects voiceprint recognition to enhance how facial recognition has improved the speed and accuracy of identifying financial services customers.

Ericson Chan, the chief executive at subsidiary Ping An Technology, pointed out that the group’s facial recognition system, which has a 99.8 per cent accuracy rate, allows online loan applications to be verified and process in three minutes.

The group’s Pu Hui iLoan business uses facial recognition to process about 50 thousand applications each day.

“We have used facial recognition in more than 200 scenarios in financial, transportation, residential and government services,” said Chan. He noted that Ping An Technology provides cloud and artificial intelligence services to all group subsidiaries and about 150 external customers.

He added that the advantage of “democratising access” to Ping An’s artificial intelligence technologies, as well as cloud computing services, is that it creates an even richer set of data that will benefit not only the group, but domestic consumers and the industry in general.

Total information technology services spending on the mainland is forecast to reach 196.6 billion yuan (US$29 billion) next year, up from an estimated 177.5 billion yuan this year.

Tan acknowledged that the mainland’s internet giants may process larger amounts of data because of their vast online user base, but Ping An “has richer and more accurate data” because of the technologies being employed and rigid compliance to regulators in the banking, insurance and securities industries.

Ping An Group’s Hong Kong-traded shares advanced 1.78 per cent to finish at HK$57.20 on Friday. It was the highest close for the company’s shares since reaching HK$57.45 on June 12, 2015.