‘Insurtech’ online insurer ZhongAn to debut tomorrow on HK exchange

The much-watched IPO of a Shanghai-based online insurance company will culminate tomorrow with the trading of its shares for the first time on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd was set up four years ago by the heads of such internet giants as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, along with insurance giant Ping An Insurance, and raised US$1.5bn last week from investors, valuing the company at around US$10bn.

Japan’s SoftBank Group was said to be one of the main IPO investors, taking a stake of just under 5% with an investment of around US$550m, Reuters reported.

Investors are seen to be attracted by ZhongAn’s cutting-edge “insurtech” business model, which utilises artificial intelligence and fintech methodology to enable it to offer cut-price insurance online to the mass market, via the internet.

According to Caixin, the Chinese financial news website, the offering was “nearly 400 times oversubscribed”.

The shares were ultimately priced at HK$59.70 (US$7.64) apiece, representing the top of their previously indicated range, according to an announcement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s website. The final price will be determined tomorrow when the shares go live. The stock symbol is “6060”.

ZhongAn, referred to in company documents as well as “ZA Online Fintech P&C”, already claims to be China’s largest insurer in terms of customers, with some 492 million enrolled in its plans, the Caixin report noted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

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