Ping An to invest $1b on technology R&D with focus on AI
Chinese financial firm Ping An Insurance (Group) Co will make a more than 7.77 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) investment on technology R&D this year, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI), according to a report by China Daily.
“We want to build more platforms in finance and healthcare industries this year and in the near future,” said Ericson Chan, CEO of Ping An Technology, a subsidiary and technology arm of Ping An Group. “We will continue to focus on providing technology services for the group as well as share more with the whole society.”
Since launching in 2008, Ping An Technology has made significant technology R&D investments on cognition, robot advisory and cloud businesses for applications in the finance and healthcare industries.
Aside from Ping An Group, Ping An Technology has developed more than 200 corporate clients, with the majority of them being banks.
Chan said that the company has been focused on AI as it seeks to benefit from promoting policies and the technology’s enormous development potential.
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued last month a national AI development plan in hopes of making China one of the world’s foremost AI innovation centers by 2030.
“I think the national strategy is absolutely the right direction and we do not need to wait till 2030,” Chan said. “China’s fast speed of technological revolution, a large number of talents and particularly high penetration of new technology application can be the reasons.”
Chan said Ping An’s facial recognition technologies — which includes its facial and voice recognition-based payment app — have been used 300 million times as of July.
In addition to finance and healthcare, Ping An Technology is working to expand applications of AI technologies in the automotive and housing industries, Chan said.
Ping An Technology’s richness of data and various application scenarios gives the company a competitive edge, Chan said.
The company continues to compete for world-class talents, and recently signed cooperative agreements with world-leading universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University.
Last month, Ping An Insurance (Group) announced plans to offer its latest artificial intelligence technologies to other financial services providers throughout mainland China, even before providing them to the company’s own subsidiaries.