China Life Insurance, Baidu team up to create technology fund

New investment fund, worth over US$2 billion, will support fintech- and AI-based startups

China Life Insurance, Baidu team up to create technology fund

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

China Life Insurance and search engine Baidu has jointly launched an investment fund to back technological initiatives.

The fund, worth RMB14 billion (US$2.12 billion), will seek to support companies developing financial technology (fintech), artificial intelligence (AI), mobile internet, and other advanced technologies. It was launched last week in Beijing, following an initial partnership agreement between China Life and Baidu signed in February, reported China Money Network.

According to China Life, its partnership with Baidu will help it access top-grade investment opportunities in various technology projects across China. It will also help China Life’s own investment team gain valuable experience and knowledge that will benefit its future investment endeavours.

The formation of the yuan-denominated fund coincides with Baidu’s push towards more AI-driven investments. Meanwhile, Chinese insurers, which were allowed to invest in venture capital by regulators in 2014, are currently pouring funds into alternative investments in order to diversify their portfolios.

Baidu Capital, Baidu’s private investment unit, will manage the joint fund. It will focus on middle- and late-stage investments in applications of internet technology in traditional sectors, as well as AI and fintech.

Meanwhile, China Life has also made significant investments in technology, having participated in Uber’s US$2.8 billion series E round in 2015. It also invested around US$600 million in Didi Chuxing, a ride-sharing service which acquired Uber’s China operations.

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