China's Largest Insurer by Market Value Seeks Assets in U.S., Israel, Singapore

$1 billion fund is on hunt for fintech and healthcare assets company, Ping An Insurance Group chairman says

A logo of Ping An Insurance is seen outside its building in Shenzhen, February 5, 2013.
Tyrone Siu/REUTERS

Ping An Insurance Group, China’s largest insurer by market value, is scouting for fintech and healthcare assets in the United States, Israel and Singapore, as it looks to use a $1 billion investment fund, a company executive said.

The Shenzhen-based insurer plans to use the acquired technology and know-how to grow its business in China, Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group’s chief technology officer and chairman of the fund, told Reuters on Tuesday.

“The primary rationale for the fund is strategic...to find capabilities, ideas, business models and technologies that can be valuable to Ping An,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Ping An launched the Hong Kong-based Global Voyager Fund in early May as the sole investor, but did not give details of which type of start-up companies it wanted to buy, or where it would look for assets.

The fund will allocate 30% of the capital to growth companies that are at least three years old and have been through the early-stage challenges, with a single investment size of $10 million to $30 million, Larsen said.

Another 30% will be deployed to bigger firms with a single investment size of between $30 million and $100 million, while a further eight to 10% will be invested in early-stage companies via partner funds.

The rest will be used for special investment opportunities such as buyouts, said Larsen, formerly the global head of retail banking and mortgages at Citigroup, who joined Ping An in May.

He added that although Ping An’s customer franchise is overwhelmingly Chinese, the group may follow in the footsteps of the country’s largest financial institutions.

“We are at a point where we can very selectively contemplate international opportunities. And the fund could play a role in that mostly through partnerships,” he said.