The Ping An Financial Building in the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Shanghai. Photo: AFP

Shares of Chinese insurer Ping An soared to a new record high on Thursday, having more than doubled this year to a valuation of around US$210 billion, according to Bloomberg. Hong Kong-listed shares jumped 8.8% in Thursday trading.

Nomura wrote in a note on Thursday that it has raised its target price for shares of the company to HK$92.92, versus Thursday’s closing price of HK$86.20.

The optimism is fueled in part by the firm’s focus on tech, where they have invested heavily in the past few years. Such investments enhance its financial services and bring in new revenue and potential spinoffs of units, Bloomberg writes.

“The market had been valuing Ping An Insurance as a pure insurer and ignoring the technology side of the company, while the management also believed it’s been undervalued,” Liao Chenkai, a Shanghai-based analyst with Capital Securities was quoted as saying. “Investors are betting the company could benefit from its financial technology strength and boost overall business.”

Shifting to asset-light model

Ping An announced on Monday it will be selling a slew of technologies in the areas of biometrics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data and cloud computing, as Nikkei Asian Review reports. The new asset-light model could boost shareholder returns, which according to the report have been constrained by capital and solvency requirements.

The shift is part of a strategy to become a full-fledged player in financial technology, a goal chairman Peter Ma Mingzhe hopes will be achieved within the next 10 years.