McKinsey Makes First Overseas Investment With Ping An Unit Stake

  • U.S. consultancy invests in property e-commerce division
  • Deal prepares Chinese insurer's unit for an initial share sale

McKinsey & Co. bought a stake in the property e-commerce unit of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., marking the U.S. consultancy’s first investment in an overseas company in its more than 80-year history.

The investment is a step toward preparing for an initial public offering of Ping An Property (Shanghai) E-commerce Co., the unit of China’s second-largest insurer said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. The statement didn’t disclose any schedule of the IPO or financial details of the transaction.

McKinsey has advised Ping An for more than a decade, helping shape strategies that grew the Shenzhen-based insurer into a conglomerate spanning banking, trust, securities and real estate. The e-commerce unit, set up in May last year, has signed brokering agreements with dozens of China’s biggest developers and new-home sales on its pinganfang.com online platform may exceed 300 billion yuan ($47 billion) next year, Chairman Nok Chong said in the statement.

Ping An has hired former McKinsey consultants for senior management roles, including former President Louis Cheung and Gregory Gibb, who now runs the insurer’s online wealth management and peer-lending unit Lu.com.

McKinsey partner Violet Chung has been appointed general manager of the property e-commerce unit, it said today.

A voice message left at McKinsey’s Asia Pacific media inquiry line outside normal working hours wasn’t immediately returned.

Although not yet profitable, the e-commerce unit is the centerpiece of Ping An’s property finance platform being built, with the support of other units including banking, Chong told reporters last month in Beijing.

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang

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