Ping An WiFi, a brand under China's Ping An Group, announced that they have gained a CNY550 million investment from Kuang-Chi Group and the two parties will jointly establish a company named Shenzhen Ping'an Xunke.
The combo have initiated what they call a "smart WiFi network application industrial alliance", aiming to promote smart city construction. This new alliance will integrate hardware manufacturers to promote the upgrades of new technologies, new materials, and new products to make Internet connectivity more ubiquitous. Ping'an Xunke will invest about CNY100 million for research and development into the alliance; while Kuang-Chi Group will be responsible for the research and development of hardware and materials.
Ping An WiFi was launched in January 2015 and it currently has over 80 million real-named registered users. The company integrates wireless networks of more than 20 WiFi providers, including China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom, to offer free-of-charge WiFi services to users.
Ping'an Xunke's chairman Rong Guoqiang said that they have not made any profit yet. However, he says they may already have found a decent business model, which is a combination of a traditional carrier model and a strong finance model.
Rong said they may launch a service which will provide Ping An WiFi users with free data along with a benefit such as higher interest when purchasing certain financial products. If the users want to keep enjoying the benefit, they will need to continue paying for the wireless connectivity.