10 things to know about Ping An, China's largest insurer

As China’s Ping An takes top spot among global insurance enterprises in Fortune’s Global 500, we highlight 10 things you might not know about the group

Ping An’s rank (#33) on Fortune’s latest Global 500 list – number one among global insurance companies – certainly sounds impressive (and it is), highlighting Ping An as the world's most valuable insurer based on revenues from 2022. 

But the ranking marks a significant drop for China’s largest insurer, which listed 25th just a year earlier.

The company, which holds a whopping US$1.6 trillion of assets, witnessed a 9% decrease in revenue, to US$181.5 billion in 2022, and a 21% slump in profits to US$12.5 billion.on.

This follows a similar decline in 2021, when profits dropped 24%.

Reasons for the drop are multiple, including slow sales in its life insurance arm, which is the company’s largest revenue source, though in the first quarter of 2023, the insurer saw its profits rise.

However, thanks to the domestic economy in China recovering in the first three months of 2023, Ping An Insurance posted a 48.9% rise in quarter-one profits. This is equivalent to US$5.55 billion as investment income improved.

Ping An Insurance also ranks 16th in Forbes' The Global 2000 in 2023, scaling up one from its 17th place in 2022 – and ranked second among global insurance companies behind UnitedHealth.

Established in 1988, and with a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Ping An is the largest insurer in China, with nearly 227 million retail customers and 693 million internet users.

But Insurance is just one arm of the Ping An Group, one of the world’s leading financial services companies that has grown into everything from banking to healthcare.

Here are 10 things you might not know about the Ping An Group.


More than just an insurer

Founded in 1988 as a property and casualty insurance company, Ping An (meaning ‘safe and well’ in Mandarin) has diversified not only into other insurance segments but other industries, from banking to asset management. The group now has five ecosystems or business units, including banking, healthcare, Smart City, and an automobile services business.

They also own and operate four insurance companies, including Ping An Life, Ping An P&C, Ping An Annuity, and Ping An Health, the group owns Ping An Bank, a national joint-stock commercial bank, and Ping An Good Doctor, a leading one-stop healthcare ecosystem platform.


Group harnesses ecosystem approach to growth

According to Tom Davenport, the author of recently released business book All in on AI, Ping An is the best example of a company that has aggressively adopted AI and is using it to change strategy and grow quickly.

Davenport points to Ping An’s ecosystem approach, which enables the company to partner with other organisations and get customer data from those partnerships. They then use that data to create AI models that work on predicting and categorising behaviours. Each business is then grown and collects even more data and the cycle continues and grows.


Founded world’s leading listed health-tech

An example of the Group’s ecosystem approach is Good Doctor. Launched in 2015 and the flagship platform of Ping An Group’s healthcare ecosystem, Good Doctor grew to be the number-one listed internet health-tech company in the world when upon joining the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2018.

An AI-based system for triage, diagnosis, and then treatment recommendations, the platform is used by a staggering 400 million in China. It provides users with 24/7 online consultation services via 49,000 in-house and contracted external doctors from 23 medical specialities. “They don’t have enough doctors in China, so it has made a huge difference to the state of healthcare,” says Davenport.

In 2022, Good Doctor reached RMB 5.16 billion, growing 25% in the second half of the year.


HSBC’s largest shareholder

Ping An is the largest shareholder of HSBC and has been in a year-long battle with the bank over the future of the business. Ping An, which owns an 8.4% stake in the FTSE100 group, was urging HSBC the breakup of the bank and spin-off of its Asia assets. The insurer argues the case for a separate Asia business listed in Hong Kong, but HSBC says such a restructure would not deliver increased value for shareholders. HSBC has since secured record profits, which quell Ping An’s concerns.


Number one for AI innovation

From 2021 to 2022, Ping An ranked first globally in the number of artificial intelligence (AI), fintech and digital healthcare patent applications. Ping An has also won multiple awards in a number of technology sectors, including AI and blockchain. Through robust data-driven operations, Ping An anticipates trends, makes timely decisions, and takes action ahead of others.


Employs more women than men

More than half of Ping An’s 344,223 employees are women. Among the 13-member leadership team, five are female executives including the company’s chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and co-CEO. As Co-CEO since 2018, Singaporean national Jessica Tan Sin Yin is also a director of a number of controlled subsidiaries of the company including Ping An Life, Ping An Bank and Ping An Technology.

Singaporean national Jessica Tan Sin Yin is Co-CEO of Ping An


Invests in commercial real estate

Ping An is pouring billions into Chinese commercial property. At the start of this year, the company invested up to 7.3 billion yuan in four industrial complexes, including two in Shanghai and two in Beijing. And prior to that, invested 11.25 billon yuan in two commercial properti4es in Beijing and nearly 30 billion in six office properties in Shanghai. Co-CEO Jessica Tan Sin-yin recently said in an interview that the company had modified its “approach to real esate, with an emphasis on investing more in physical assets”. Property investments are an attractive asset class for insurers as they offer long durations and stable yields.


Ping An HQ in one of the world’s tallest buildings

Ping An’s headquarters occupies a supertall skycraper. Soaring to a height of 599m, the 115-storey Ping An Finance Center (PAFC) is the tallest building in Shenzhen, the second tallest in China and the fourth tallest in the world. It is strategically located in Shenzhen, China’s coastal city which connects the cities of Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and has experienced explosive growth in recent years.

As well as being the tallest, it is also setting new standards in sustainability and energy efficiency for modern skyscrapers, securing LEED Gold rating.

Ping An Finance Center is 599m tall


World’s fifth best global insurance company to work for

Ping An ranked fifth in the global insurance sector and first among Chinese financial companies on Forbes’ World’s Best Employers 2022. To support employees’ development, in 2022, Ping An collaborated with over 50 education institutions to offer a wide range of high quality training programmes. As of the end of 2022, Ping An had developed 77,000 online courses with a total annual attendance of over 44.54 million and delivered face-to-face and livestreamed training sessions to 127,000 employees. During the year, training hours per employee averaged 40.8 hours.


Top ESG rating of Chinese companies

Ping An recently featured in the top 1% of companies in China with outstanding, along with 11 other companies, according to S&P Global’s Sustainability 2023. By the end of 2022, the insurer’s green investment and financing reached an impressive US$39.26 billion, while green banking business hit US$25.32 billion. The insurer has also facilitated the construction of 119 Ping An Hope primary schools across the country, engaging over 10,000 teaching volunteers. Due to its performance in ESG and risk management, Ping An has been awarded an A rating in the MSCI 2022 ESG Ratings, securing the top spot in the multi-line insurance and brokerage industry in the Asia Pacific region.


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