These three industries in China are poised to benefit most from blockchain, survey says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 5:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 11:01pm

Logistics, government and medical services are areas that enjoy the most potential to adapt blockchain technology in China, according to a joint survey by PwC and VeChain on Wednesday.

Mainland regulators have clamped down on cryptocurrencies, banning initial coin offerings and forcing bitcoin trading platforms to move offshore. But authorities are still open to the use of the digital decentralisation technology.

More than half of respondents said the new technology will have a significant impact on business.

The survey, conducted between November and December, focused on the application of the technology on non-financial sectors. About 130 companies were surveyed online while 40 others were conducted through face-to-face interviews. Half of the companies have revenue of more than US$100 million.

“Blockchain has transformative potential, its implementation can affect a company’s underlying business model,” said Cheung Chun Yin, a PwC China partner in Shanghai.

Logistics is viewed as the industry most predisposed to utilising the technology outside finance, as it can help trace the origin as well as track transport and storage data.

“Blockchain’s tamper-resistant and distributed data storage features enable us to improve traceability and transparency for logistics and supply chain management. These characteristics will be put to use in optimising business transactions and trade relations,” said Sunny Lu, chief executive officer of blockchain company VeChain.

Government is the second most suitable arena for the technology in areas including smart city planning, governmental documentation storage and transfer.

Medical and health care services can also see wide use of blockchain because of rigorous demands for verifying authenticity of personal, diagnostics and prescription information.

Meanwhile, future applications of blockchain technology hinges on management’s acceptance and regulatory policy. Cost was cited as the lowest among concerns on whether companies will go ahead and adapt the technology.

More enterprises will begin using the technology if it is supported by a solid and comprehensive industrial policy, said Cheung.

Some governmental bodies on the mainland have already shown interest in tapping blockchain.

For instance, the National Audit Office is considering using the technology to improve its data infrastructure, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plans to set up a national blockchain standardisation committee.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, said in April it will invest 3 billion yuan (US$471 million) in a 10-billion-yuan fund that will invest in blockchain projects in China.

In 2016, Premier Li Keqiang announced that the technology was written into the 13th Five-Year Plan, a road map for the country’s development in the five years to 2020.