Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Martin Hennecke

SoftBank tech fund to invest in Ping An businesses
SoftBank Group's technology fund is looking into investments in health and financial businesses owned by Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance (Group), according to two people with knowledge of the possible deals.

The US$97 billion (HK$756.6 billion) Vision Fund is in talks to invest in Lufax, China's largest online financing company, OneConnect, which offers AI-powered services such as distribution channels and risk management to financial companies, and health care portal Ping An Good Doctor, the people said.

The fund will look to take between 5 percent and 10 percent of the companies. It's also considering a potential investment in a separate Ping An-backed health care subsidiary.

The fund may not invest in all the companies, and is still conducting due diligence about the size and timing of the investments, the people added.

Tokyo-based SoftBank has flagged China as one of the main destinations for its tech investments. It contributed US$5 billion to this year's record US$5.5 billion fundraising by Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, and also invested in Hong Kong's ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co. (6060) as part of its IPO in September. Lufax is preparing for an IPO, Alex Ren, the president of Ping An, said in August. Good Doctor also plans to list in Hong Kong next year, the South China Morning Post reported last week.

Ping An is tapping the growing wealth of China's expanding middle class by cross-selling products across a range of subsidiaries. Its internet platforms are adding new individual customers expected to generate more stable profits.


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