Chinese online insurer ZhongAn forms offshore arm with Sinolink to up bets on fintech, insurtech globally

China’s biggest online-only insurer says the establishment of its new offshore arm is a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 December, 2017, 10:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 December, 2017, 11:02pm

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance, China’s first and largest online-only insurer, has teamed up with Hong Kong-listed Sinolink Worldwide Holdings to create an offshore arm to facilitate overseas expansion.

Through the new joint venture, ZhongAn said it aims to increase its investments in financial and insurance technology internationally in response to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” that encourages Chinese firms to go global.

ZhongAn Tech, the insurer’s technology unit, has signed an agreement with Sinolink to create the joint venture, ZhongAn Online said on Sunday evening. Sinolink is an investment holding company mainly involved in the property sector.

“It will be ZhongAn Technology’s platform for international development for the purpose of exploring international business development, collaboration and investment opportunities in the areas of fintech and insurtech in overseas market,” the statement said.

“It’s in response to the One Belt One Road policy initiated by the PRC government.”

The Belt and Road strategy was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to rekindle the historic Silk Road trading routes and create a blueprint for future global economic development.

ZhongAn Tech and Sinolink will inject 50 million yuan and 60 million yuan in cash, respectively, in return for ordinary shares in the new company.

Additionally, Sinolink will invest 620 million yuan in cash in return for redeemable preference shares.

ZhongAn Tech and Sinolink will own 51 per cent and 49 per cent respectively of the voting rights in the venture.

Ou Yaping, chairman and executive director of ZhongAn Online, holds a 45.11 per cent stake in Sinolink, the filing said. Sinolink controls a 5.62 per cent stake in ZhongAn Online, according to the latter’s IPO prospectus.

ZhongAn Online, which debuted on the Hong Kong stock market on September 28, closed Friday at HK$65.5, up 0.3 per cent from the previous day. The stock is 10 per cent higher than its IPO price of HK$59.7.

Sinolink ended flat at 92 Hong Kong cents on the same day.