Chinese tech giant Tencent is collaborating on the development of blockchain-based insurtech solutions as part of efforts to compete against chief rival Ant Financial in the new healthcare crowdfunding space.
Tencent has acquired a stake in Beijing-based healthcare crowdfunding start-up Waterdrop, and is working with the company to develop blockchain technology for the automation of reimbursements according to a report from Bloomberg.
Waterdrop’s flagship product, Waterdrop Mutual, involves users contributing modest sums to provide payments of up to 300,000 yuan to critically ill individuals, with the platform itself retaining an 8% commission.
The product is not officially defined as a form of insurance, making it exempt from supervision by the Chinese insurance regulator.
Waterdrop has nonetheless expanded into the sale of conventional insurance products provided by over 50 third-party financial institutions.
Waterdrop CEO Shen Peng said that the company has already paid out 440 million yuan to over 3,000 patients out of active users numbering at least 70 million.
The start-up recently completed a Series B funding round in March led by Tencent, raising 500 million yuan (approx. USD$74.2 million).
Waterdrop hopes to obtain further financing at a valuation of over USD$1 billion, in a bid to better compete against Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial and its Xiang Hu Bao platform that provides a similar service to a user base of around 55 million people.