A new blockchain innovation alliance backed by the Chongqing government announced the rollout of its “Chongqing Swiftchain” public service platform at its opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The alliance will tap the expertise of heavy hitters including Inspur, IBM, Alibaba, Ziguang, Huawei, and Baidu, according to the official announcement, pushing Chongqing, a municipality in southwest China, to the forefront of an industry that is high on China’s priority list.

  • Beyond the big names, the alliance also incorporates more than 100 other companies and research institutes. Inspur Group is currently slated to chair the alliance. 
  • Inspur Group’s IBS platform is also the basis for Chongqing Swiftchain, a common platform intended to provide (in Chinese) blockchain engine and development services for the technology.

Details: The alliance says it is China’s first blockchain alliance directly backed by a provincial-level government, and builds on Chongqing’s existing efforts to make the municipality a hub for the technology.

  • The entity will be based in the locality’s Yuzhong District, where the Chongqing Blockchain Industry Innovation Base has already been operating for three years.
  • Yuzhong District is already cultivating (in Chinese) a digital economy demonstration zone, and plans to carry out pilot demonstrations in smart cities, healthcare, and other fields.
  • The alliance intends for Chongqing Swiftchain to lay the foundation for future blockchain technology development, as well as help to standardize and coordinate the technology’s implementation.
  • The alliance aims for the public platform to facilitate 1,000 patent applications and drive enterprises to create over RMB 5 billion RMB in value over the next five years, Zhang Fan, vice-president of Inspur, was cited in a Chinese news report as saying.

Context: Chongqing’s blockchain ambitions are part of a larger government-led push to make China a global leader in blockchain technology.  

  • China’s senior leadership has been eager to encourage the adoption of blockchain technology throughout the country, with officials all the way up to Xi Jinping himself calling for the country to “seize the opportunity” in this burgeoning field.
  • Alliance aside, the Chongqing municipal government is also developing a set of “Industrial Park Development Coordination Measures” that will allow companies to claim subsidies of up to RMB 3 million or awards of RMB 500,000 to 1 million for their blockchain research.

Shaun Ee is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council, working at the intersection of geopolitics, tech, and national security. Before moving back to Asia,...