China Telecom BestPay Raise 945mln to Focus on Blockchain and AI
China Telecom BestPay, the third largest payment platform operator in China, has raised 945 million yuan ($140 million) purposefully for bringing in blockchain and artificial intelligence advances.
The company, founded in 2011, is a wholly owned subsidiary of state-owned China Telecom Corp (China’s third-largest wireless carrier) committed to mobile payment. Up to January 2016, its app called BestPay has attracted over 290 million users and become the third largest payment platform operator in China, closely following Alipay and WeChat Payment. Bestpay offers payment service in major countries including U.S., Australia, U.K., Japan, Korea, Canada and in Europe region, according to its website.
According to local financial report, BestPay has sold 49 percent of its stake to four renowned investors in exchange for 945 million yuan fund, which has been approved by the central bank. It is noteworthy that the company will use the raised money to seek improvement in big data and focus on two trending technologies – blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Earlier last July, the country’s big three wireless carriers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, have launched a blockchain research group for blockchain exploration.
The company’s mixed ownership reform is a step to spin off the state-owned brand, which is also a boost to its vitality and further development, together with its strategy of adopting blockchain technology.
It is evident that companies from varied fields have been aggressively adopting blockchain around the whole world.
Of late, international banking giant HSBC revealed that it has processed $250 billion of forex trades leveraging blockchain technology in 2018, though it may represent a small portion of the overall payment volumes for the bank. The figure is still impressive, showing the practice of blockchain uptake in the traditional banking sector.
In China, apart from enterprises’ zeal for blockchain, the local government also attaches great importance to the nascent technology. As previously reported by 8btc, investment guided by the Chinese government in blockchain technology has stood at over 40 billion yuan (roughly $5.82 billion) in 2018 alone.
The number of blockchain patent applications from China shed more light on the trend. A total of 2,482 blockchain related patents are from China, and Chinese firms took 57 out of the top 100 global blockchain patent holders in 2018, with Alibaba and People’s Bank of China ranking among the top 5.