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Ping An creates global financial and medical think tank with Tsinghua University

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Ping An Insurance Company of China in October 2017 announced that it has established two units, the Global Financial and Economic Development Research Center. and the Global Medical and Healthcare Research Center, in association with Tsinghua University, with the aim of creating a global, top-grade think tank supported by the scientific research capabilities and scientists of Tsinghua, and the technology innovation in fintech, healthtech, and smart-city development expertise of Ping An.

Mr. Li Jiange, Chairman of Sun Yefang Foundation of China and Vice Chairman of Central Huijin Investment, will lead the Global Financial and Economic Development Research Center.

Along with a scientific committee from China and overseas, the team will focus on researching issues in globalization, strategy development, and long-term planning. They will relate these areas to such issues as the reform of Chinese financial institutions, financial risk mitigation, and the establishment of a modern system for China’s financial industry. They will also track global fintech developments, and investigate financial research related to the Belt and Road initiative. Further, the team will probe the global financial crisis and asset bubbles, and study ways to guard against such risks, while examining the impact of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, block-chain, and big data, on the global financial industry.

Mr. Jin Xiaotao, Vice Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China, will oversee the Global Medical and Healthcare Research Center, which will focus on researching medical applications of artificial intelligence, personal health risks, medical services institutions’ management, health economics, and health big data. It will enhance the academic level of domestic medical theory and advance the Chinese state and enterprises to further participate in global health development while keeping track of progress in dealing with major issues to realize a “healthy China.”

Ping An will also join with Tsinghua to conduct research for insurance products suitable for low-income families. This is in response to the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that urged “the implementation of insurance for all citizens, so that everyone has protection” and for the improvement of peoples’ livelihoods. In addition to launching products for low-income citizens, the country is also building a multi-level social security system.

As far as employee benefits are concerned, the rules of the game in China are likely to change substantially in the coming years. Foreign private insurers are not very likely to be allowed to play an important role in the future insurance landscape as the Communist Party of China and the state again assume an exclusive, inward-looking, and ideology-driven leadership of key industries such as the financial sector, at a time when social tensions arising from imbalances (between rich coastal and poor inland regions; between haves and have-nots; between cities and rural areas) may threaten its grip on power. Specifically, is there a place for supplements to a social security system – that is, for employee benefits – when social security offers all the coverage that is needed and allowed?

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GBV Issue 23 Table of Contents, November 2017