July 11, 2017 / 12:18 PM / a month ago

China's Ping An seeks fintech, healthcare assets in U.S., Israel, Singapore

Company logo of Ping An Insurance Group is shown at a news conference following the company's announcement of its annual results in Hong Kong, China March 16, 2016.Bobby Yip/File Photo

(This version of the July 11 story corrects title of Larsen to Ping An group's chief innovation officer, not chief technology officer, in second paragraph)

By Kane Wu and Julie Zhu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ping An Insurance Group Ltd, China's largest insurer by market value, is scouting for fintech and healthcare assets in the United States, Israel and Singapore, as it looks to use a $1 billion investment fund, a company executive said.

The Shenzhen-based insurer plans to use the acquired technology and know-how to grow its business in China, Jonathan Larsen, Ping An Group's chief innovation officer and chairman of the fund, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"The primary rationale for the fund is strategic...to find capabilities, ideas, business models and technologies that can be valuable to Ping An," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Ping An launched the Hong Kong-based Global Voyager Fund in early May as the sole investor, but did not give details of which type of start-up companies it wanted to buy, or where it would look for assets.

The fund will allocate 30 percent of the capital to growth companies that are at least three years old and have been through the early-stage challenges, with a single investment size of $10 million to $30 million, Larsen said.

Another 30 percent will be deployed to bigger firms with a single investment size of between $30 million and $100 million, while a further eight to 10 percent will be invested in early-stage companies via partner funds.

The rest will be used for special investment opportunities such as buyouts, said Larsen, formerly the global head of retail banking and mortgages at Citigroup, who joined Ping An in May.

He added that although Ping An's customer franchise is overwhelmingly Chinese, the group may follow in the footsteps of the country's largest financial institutions.

"We are at a point where we can very selectively contemplate international opportunities. And the fund could play a role in that mostly through partnerships," he said.

Editing by Susan Thomas

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