Chinese President Xi Jinping making a speech
Chinese President Xi Jinping making a speech on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of a training programme for young and middle-aged officials at the Central Party School. Xinhua

The big industry players in China were already involved in hundreds of enterprise blockchain projects even before President Xi Jinping requested that the Chinese officials should grab every opportunity related to distributed ledger technology.

Since January, the Cyberspace Administration of China requires every organization that’s developing blockchain technologies to register their attempt for supervision by the government.

From that moment onward, 506 projects of were registered in the form of two lists. 197 projects were published in March while 309 were announced this month.

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These lists will get bigger with time but as they stand they include part of the biggest Chinese technology enterprises and state-owned banks, in addition to many government and public sector projects that will lead China’s economy in the near future.

We should mention that some well-known blockchain projects are still missing from these lists while others are somewhat camouflaged by the names of organization subsidiaries. In any case, we can acknowledge some of the enterprise blockchain projects that will grow in popularity with time.

Financial sector

If we look at the financial sector of the two lists we can detect four common use cases – asset management, trade finance, supply chain financing and cross-border payments. We can find the names of six banks that filed for 14 projects related to blockchain.  

The biggest bank in the world by assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Ping An Bank, which is the banking part of Ping An Insurance, have filed two projects each.

Ping An Bank revealed their blockchain-driven voting and decision-making system and a data analytics SAS platform. The bank is actually the premier Chinese financial organization part of the R3 enterprise blockchain alliance and has embraced FiMax – a blockchain network that enhances data-sharing and privacy mechanisms. The bank aims to increase the efficiency in such transactions and deal with the demands of the supply chain financing.

The Chinese analogue of Mastercard and Visa – Union Pay, registered two blockchain projects – a blockchain-based tracking service for cross-border transfers and a digital certificate application.

In 2017 ICBC collaborated with the People’s Bank of China in administering a research on blockchain technology which resulted in ICBC’s blockchain-based financing platform for small and medium-scale organizations. ICBC Xi Blockchain Service and ICBC Financial Services on the other hand assist the transactions of ICBC’s clients.

The two big blockchain projects that were announced but not published in the list are the China Construction Bank’s effort in remodeling their finance blockchain-based platform and the Bank of China’s first international money transfer via their unique blockchain payment system. The sum was in dollars and was sent last year to South Korea.  

Popular brands like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent

Alibaba is very involved in the blockchain race as they are number one in the chart for most patents aimed at blockchain-related technologies with the stunning 90 projects. Still, the competition for the most advanced blockchain cloud service in China is between them, Huawei, Baidu and Tencent.

The Chinese search engine Baidu announced their white paper of the Xuper Chain patented product that targets to administer the base infrastructure for blockchain-related services. Last August Baidu introduced a dapp game by the name of Letsdog which was registered in the lists through their subsidiary Duxiaoman.

The list from March also included the Baidu Blockchain Engine which provides cloud services and Token which protects digital intellectual property with the help of blockchain.

As for the parent of messaging app WeChat, Tencent – in 2017 they released a white paper for their upcoming suite of blockchain services and have been working on it ever since.

We can find them in the lists with registrations for Tencent Cloud TBaaS Blockchain and Tencent Blockchain. We should also mention Tencent’s TrustSQL platform which has a core chain, service and application layers and provides digital asset management and authentication.

Projects that are government-driven

The Chinese government is also playing a serious part in the expansion of blockchain technology.  

As noted earlier in this report, Union Pay is part of the lists but this month local media informed the public about their test phase launch in collaboration with other institutions, along with the State Information Center and China Mobile. Together they are working on a nationwide blockchain infrastructure project called the Blockchain Services Network (BSN) which is regarded as the Android for blockchain.

The CEO of Beijing Red Date Tech (another institution part of the project), Yifan He noted that BSN is tested in 55 cities in China and Singapore. The network has been alleged to be far more cost-effective than the current cloud services offered by Huawei, Alibaba or Tencent.

An interesting example of government involvement in blockchain is the registration of Beijing’s and Guangzhou’s Internet Court blockchain-based platforms.

These courts deal with cases like online IP disputes, online financing and small loan contract disputes. All of the steps of the court, such as prosecution, settlement, evidence presentation and the announcement of the verdict are migrated online.

Another, both huge and uncommon project, is the building of a new city on top of a swampland, located 60 miles southwest of Beijing. As Beijing is already overpopulated, local authorities decided to build a new city called Xiong’an, meaning “brave and peace”.

The land will be bought from local farmers and those purchases (a total of $380 billion) will be made via blockchain. One of the projects related to the new city is the Xiong’an Blockchain Land Compensation Distribution Platform, which will have the target to distribute financial subsidies to people that relocate to the new area.

Other government-driven blockchain projects are the Cross-Border Transactions Platform, for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the Blockchain Electronic Invoice, for the State Administration of Taxation Shenzhen branch.

Other notable projects

Some of the other popular companies’ projects that were announced in the list are China’s version of Netflix – iQIYI which is utilizing Baidu Xuper Chain Supernode to enhance their streaming services.

One of the biggest life science and genomics companies in the country – BGI, listed their BGI Blockchain BaaS Platform that aims to manage genetic analysis.

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