Briefing: Ant Financial planning fintech innovation center in Xiong’an New Area

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用奋斗助力数字智能城市建设 – 河北新闻网

What happened: Ant Financial is planning to build a fintech innovation center in the Xiong’an New Area, said Ren Haixia, head of Alibaba’s Xiong’an project, though she did not reveal a specific timeline for the launch. The company has rolled out a blockchain-based home rental platform, which is part of the larger plan for the innovation center. An Ant Financial spokesman confirmed to TechNode that it has collaborated with local entities on fintech projects. There will be more cooperation between Alibaba and the special economic zone and more projects are underway, including blockchain and cloud infrastructure development, according to the Hebei news outlet citing Ren.

Why it’s important: The Xiong’an New Area is a special economic zone proposed by President Xi Jinping, and established in 2017. It is located outside of Beijing in the northern Chinese province of Hebei. With favorable policies to promote the growth of the high-tech industry, the Xiong’an New Area has attracted China’s tech giants, including Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, to set up branches. Alibaba and its fintech arm, Ant Financial, entered into strategic cooperation agreements with the economic zone in late 2017 and pledged to turn it into a “prototype smart city.” So far, Alibaba has launched a cloud data center, an intelligent city planning platform, and a blockchain-based home rental platform. Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics company, recently launched unmanned delivery vehicles in the zone.

Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that Ant Financial has collaborated with local entities, not local government, on fintech projects.