Ping An Insurance has made the top 10 in the FutureBrand Index, a reranking of PwC’s list of the 100 companies with the highest market cap in order of brand perception based on 18 indicators of brand success.
The Chinese company, whose name literally translates as “safe and well”, started as a property and casualty insurance company in 1988 but now offers a range of financial products and reports revenue of CN¥1,321.4 billion (£149 billion).
It was the only financial brand to make the top 10 of the global ranking, alongside household names such as tech giants Apple and Microsoft.
The company has put technology at the centre of its strategy and user experience, with over 110,000 employees sitting in its technology team.
Most of Ping An’s profit comes from life and health insurance, but it also offers health care, banking, wealth advice and credit.
Its product range is vast, with a number of auxiliary apps and services sitting alongside its core financial offering, which it terms ecosystems. An example might be its digital health app Good Doctor or car-selling platform Autohome.
The company distinguishes between its 598 million “internet users” (anyone with an account on one of its platforms) and 218 million “customers” (who have bought a financial product from one of the group’s core units).
Ping An can use the data of the “users” to upsell and cross-sell more sophisticated and lucrative products – turning them into “customers”.
The Chinese firm has been cited as an inspiration by other companies in the insurance sector, with Direct Line MD Mark Evans name-checking it in his interview with the Forum earlier this year.
“The future has already happened,” Mark said. “It’s just happened somewhere else in the world and we should all pay attention to that.”
While brands in Europe may be looking east for inspiration, Ping An is looking to Europe for acquisitions. It invested in finleap, a European fintech ecosystem, in 2018 and in Joonko in 2019, a digital financial portal launched by finleap to help European consumers choose the right financial products. Last year it invested in Berlin-based digital healthcare company PlusDental.