Ant Financial’s Alipay told KrASIA on Thursday that its online mutual aid platform Xiang Hu Bao has gained 50 million members in less than six months since its launch in October 2018 and has aimed to reach 300 million people in the next 2 years.
Xiang Hu Bao, which literally means “mutual protection,” is a platform within the Alipay app that provides a basic health plan to cover costs related to 100 illnesses. The plan bears functional similarity with health insurance.
As of this month, approximately 47% of Xiang Hu Bao’s 50 million members are migrant workers, with 31% of the pool from rural areas and county level regions, said Alipay, adding that commercial insurance’s high premiums are typically beyond what these citizens can afford.
Xiang Hu Bao differs from medical insurance packages in that it does not require regular payments or admission fees. Instead, when a participant makes a claim to cover medical bills, he or she receives a one-time payout of up to RMB 300,000 (USD 44,700), the cost of which is shared equally by all other members.
Three years before the launch of Xiang Hu Bao, a platform called Shuidihuzhu was already offering a similar service, though it has been growing at a slower pace than Xiang Hu Bao. Beijing Zongqing Xiangqian, which runs the platform, disclosed late last month that it had 75 million members. It recently raised RMB 500 million (USD 74.4 million) in a Series B round led by Tencent.
Retailer Suning’s financial arm has also been testing products similar to Xiao Hu Bao, Chinese media outlet National Business Daily reported on Wednesday.
Xiang Hu Bao is bringing users on board at a rate faster than Yu’e Bao, a platfom inside Alipay allowing users to buy money market funds.
At the end of last year, Tianhong Yu’e Bao, one of the 20 funds on Yu’e Bao platform, was managing assets worth RMB 1.13 trillion (USD 168 billion).
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