Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao removes medical insurance product from app

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Bytedance-owned content aggregator Jinri Toutiao has removed a medical insurance product from its platform, highlighting the government’s tightened control over financial services provided by content platform operators.

Launched within the Jinri Toutiao app in December, healthcare insurance product Hejiabao was mainly positioned to provide financial protection to Chinese families without government insurance in the event of life-threatening conditions, the Paper reports (in Chinese).

Chinese internet companies have rushed to diversify their businesses by entering the financial services industry. Chinese e-commerce titan JD followed a similar path. However, its two P2P lending services were shut down in December after operating for less than 10 days. Following the company’s plan to restructure its ride-hailing business, Didi launched a series of in-app financial services at the beginning of January, which include insurance and wealth management products.

Jinri Toutiao claimed the insurance product covered up to RMB 6 million (around $880,000) in medical expenses once applicants had received a diagnosis. The product was available for purchase within the app until Monday. It has subsequently been removed.

When contacted by TechNode, a representative from Jinri Toutiao declined to comment.

Two other insurance products are still available within the app. One covers users’ financial assets in their bank accounts and the other provides medical insurance for individuals. The maximum insured amounts are RMB 10,000 and RMB 1,000 respectively, and both are free.

All of the insurance products are provided by Taikang, a Beijing-based insurance and financial services group. The company claimed the removal is for “improving customer experience.”

Bytedance, the world’s most valuable startup, was granted an insurance license last year after fully acquiring a Beijing-based insurance brokerage firm. It later launched an online lending service called Safe Lending, which was shuttered in a matter of days.