Operating profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company rose 21.0% year on year to RMB34,119 million. Net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company increased 77.1% year on year to RMB45,517 million. As of March 31, 2019, the Group’s total retail customers grew to nearly 191 million, an increase of 3.6% compared with the beginning of this year. The Group's internet user base was also up 4.2% over the same period to 561 million. In the first quarter of 2019, the Group acquired 11 million new customers, 31.3% of whom were sourced from internet users within its five ecosystems.
Core finance businesses maintain steady growth
NBV of the life and health insurance business strengthened. While maintaining balanced growth in scale and value, the Company attaches greater importance to stable quarterly growth in business, enabling sustainable business growth and healthy growth in the size of our sales agent team. In the first quarter of 2019, under the belief that “insurance should be protection-oriented,” the Company proactively adjusted the product mix by de-scaling short-PPP (Premium Payment Period) savings products and increasing focus on long-term protection products and hybrid long-PPP protection and savings products. As a result, NBV of the life and health insurance business rose by 6.1% year on year to RMB21,642 million despite first-year premium (FYP) declining 10.8% year on year.
Ping An Property & Casualty maintained stable business growth and high business quality. In the first quarter of 2019, Ping An Property & Casualty recorded a premium income of RMB69,220 million, up 9.5% year on year. Ping An Property & Casualty maintained high business quality, with a better-than-industry combined ratio of 97.0%. Ping An Property & Casualty’s net profit increased by 77.3% year on year due to a higher investment income driven by a capital market recovery and a decrease in income tax attributable to declining commission rates.
The Company continued to optimize asset allocation of insurance funds and asset-liability matching. As of March 31, 2019, the Company’s investment portfolio of insurance funds grew to nearly RMB2.88 trillion, up by 3.2% from the beginning of 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, the investment portfolio’s annualized net and total investment yields reached 3.9% and 5.1% respectively.
Ping An Bank maintained steady growth, and furthered its retail banking transformation. In the first quarter of 2019, Ping An Bank’s revenue increased by 15.9% year on year to RMB32,476 million. Net profit grew by 12.9% year on year to RMB7,446 million. Ping An Bank furthered its retail banking transformation by capitalizing on technological innovations. As of March 31, 2019, retail assets under management (AUM) rose by 17.4% from the beginning of 2019 to RMB1,663,298 million. The core tier 1 capital adequacy ratio rose by 0.21 pps from the beginning of 2019 to 8.75%.
The Company further implemented fintech and healthtech strategies
In the first quarter of 2019, under the “finance + technology” and “finance + ecosystem” strategies, Ping An continued to increase investment in areas including AI, blockchain, and cloud computing to proactively develop five ecosystems and facilitate the Group’s business. Ping An achieved steady business growth by “empowering financial services with technologies, empowering ecosystems with technologies, and empowering financial services with ecosystems.” As of March 31, 2019, Ping An had filed 15,316 technology patent applications, up 3,265 from the beginning of the year, ranking among the top tier of international financial institutions. The applications include 3,761 filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and abroad.
In the first quarter of 2019, Lufax Holding’s revenue and profit rose steadily. Assets under management (AUM) grew by 2.0% from the beginning of 2019 to RMB376,707 million. The balance of loans under management rose by 7.5% from the beginning of 2019 to RMB403,121 million. Lufax Holding has completed its Series C financing at a post-money valuation of USD39,400 million.
OneConnect is committed to building a world-leading fintech service cloud platform. As of March 31, 2019, OneConnect had provided fintech services for 590 banks, 77 insurers and 2,634 other non-bank financial institutions. In the first quarter of 2019, OneConnect’s risk management products were used 326 million times.
Ping An Smart City Business builds “1+N” platforms that center on government services, economic development and people’s livelihood, under the philosophy of serving the country, society and public. Ping An Smart City’s business covers fiscal management, government administration, transportation, life, healthcare, trade, and so on. Ping An Smart City is rolling out its business to over 100 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as multiple countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative.
In targeted poverty alleviation, Ping An continues to promote the Ping An Rural Communities Support initiative, covering village officers, doctors and teachers. Ping An uses cutting-edge technologies to support rural industrial upgrade, strengthen health care in poor areas, and improve rural education. As of the end of March 2019, the Company had implemented the Ping An Rural Communities Support in nine provinces or autonomous regions across China. The Company had contributed RMB9,800 million for poverty alleviation, built or upgraded over 400 rural clinics, trained 5,702 village doctors, built or upgraded 391 rural schools, and trained 4,819 village teachers.
According to Mr. Peter Ma, Chairman and CEO of Ping An, “The year 2019 is crucial for our strategic transformation. Ping An will closely follow national policies and continue to strengthen the ability to support the real economy. Under the ‘finance + technology’ and ‘finance + ecosystem’ strategies, Ping An will proactively develop its five ecosystems, increase R&D investment, offer excellent products and services, and promote various businesses. As a socially responsible corporation, Ping An has a longstanding commitment to our society. We will continue the Ping An Rural Communities Support initiative to give back to society and contribute to the nation. In this way, we will create value for customers, shareholders and society in tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China”.