In this article, we introduce financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China (中国平安保险(集团))(HKEX: 2318)(SHA: 601318), also known more simply as just Ping An (中国平安). Though most commonly known as an insurance company, Ping An also has an asset management business and is active in retail, corporate, and investment banking, as well as the financial technology (fintech) and health technology (healthtech) industries.
The Size and Scale of Ping An
Ping An ranked as the fifth largest insurer in the world and as the second largest Chinese insurer behind China Life Insurance Group (中国人寿) in terms of net premiums written in 2021 (Source: A.M. Best)
Ping An ranked second in the world in terms of total revenue in 2021, behind only Berkshire Hathaway (Source: Insurance Information Institute)
Ping An ranked as the largest insurer in the world in terms of total assets based on the most recent available data* (Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute)
Ping An ranked as the second largest insurer in the world based on March 2023 market capitalization, behind UnitedHealth Group (Source: Insurance Business)
*The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute website does not specify when their total assets data were extracted
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The Birth of Ping An
Ping An Insurance Company (平安保险公司) was founded in Shenzhen in 1988, ten years after China economically opened up. Ping An was China's first joint-stock insurance company.
In 1992, Ping An was renamed Ping An Insurance Company of China (中国平安保险公司), to signify the company's gradual expansion into other parts of China.
In 1994, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs became shareholders of Ping An, making Ping An the first financial institution in China to be partially held by foreign investors.
Growing Beyond Insurance and Going Public
In 1995, Ping An established Ping An Securities Company Limited (平安证券有限公司) as part of an effort to grow beyond the insurance industry. The following year, Ping An also acquired ICBC Pearl River Delta Financial Trust Joint Company (中国工商银行珠三角金融信托公司) and renamed it Ping An Trust and Investment Company (平安信托投资有限责任公司) as part of an endeavour to enter the trust and securities busineses.
In 2001, Ping An became the first company in China to introduce a bancassurance selling model, where insurance products are sold via banking agents.
In 2002, HSBC acquired a 10% stake in Ping An, thus becoming Ping An's largest shareholder. Subsequently, HSBC doubled its shareholding of Ping An to 19.9% by acquiring the shares previously owned by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. HSBC and Ping An also signed a strategic cooperation and technical support agreement where HSBC would leverage its expertise and experience to facilitate Ping An's development into an integrated financial conglomerate.
In 2003, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China (中国平安保险(集团)) was established as the holding group entity for Ping An's fully integrated financial services platform. The same year, Ping An expanded into the banking business by acquiring Fujian Asia Bank (福建亚洲银行).
Note: this holding group entity is the Ping An Group we refer to in the remainder of this article. We also use the names "Ping An" and "Ping An Group" interchangeably to refer to the same entity.
In 2004, Ping An went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX: 2318). Ping An's IPO was the largest IPO in Hong Kong's history at the time.
In 2006, Shenzhen Commercial Bank (深圳市商业银行), which was later renamed Ping An Bank (平安银行).
In 2007, Ping An listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SHA: 601318). At the time of listing, Ping An's IPO in Shanghai was the world's largest insurance company IPO and the second largest A-share IPO in China's history.
In 2011, Ping An became the controlling shareholder of Shenzhen Development Bank (深圳发展银行), which subsequently merged with Ping An Bank under the Ping An Bank name as Ping An Bank continued to expand its presence across China.
Going Beyond Traditional Finance
In 2011, Ping An established Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange (上海陆家嘴国际金融资产交易市场), more commonly known as Lufax (陆金所), as a wealth management subsidiary which primarily focused on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. P2P lending was very popular and relatively unregulated in China at the time. As the Chinese government tightened regulations on P2P lending towards the later half of the decade, Lufax eventually transformed to become a personal wealth management platform similar to Alibaba's Ant Group (蚂蚁集团), where consumers can browse for various fund and insurance products and take out small loans.
In 2015, Ping An launched the Ping An Good Doctor (平安好医生) mobile application which served as a healthtech platform for consumers to schedule online consultations with medical professionals and shop for healthcare products. Softbank invested USD400 million into Ping An Good Doctor in 2017 before Ping An Good Doctor was spun-off and went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX: 1833) in 2018. Ping An Good Doctor was China's largest online healthcare platform at the time of listing.
Also in 2015, Ping An launched OneConnect Financial Technology Company (壹账通金融科技有限公司), also known simply as just OneConnect (金融壹账通), as a technology-as-a-service platform providing solutions to financial institutions. OneConnect went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: OCFT) in 2019 and on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX: 6638) in 2022.
In 2020, Lufax went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: LU) as the fifth largest IPO in the US that year.
As of the end of 2022, Ping An had total assets worth RMB11.1 trillion as well as 226.64 million retail customers across the conglomerate's various subsidiaries and platforms.
Ping An has seven operating business segments operated through a number of subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures, as summarized below.
#1: Life and Health Insurance