This Chinese SME Outranks PayPal in the World for Blockchain Patents

Chongqing, a municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in southwestern China. Source: Adobe/zhu difeng

Why is a relatively small Chinese loans-providing startup ranked #66 in the world for blockchain patent issuance, above the likes of PayPal?

Earlier this year, reported Chonqing Daily, data provider IPRDaily produced a list of firms ranked in order of how many blockchain-specific patents applications they had lodged.

Unsurprisingly, the list was headed by Chinese tech and business giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and the Ping An Group, all of whom have poured money into blockchain-related research in the past few years. A number of large global firms were also on the list.

But one very little-known name also made the list: Chongqing Xiaoyudian Microfinance, which placed at No. 66 – ahead of global giants like Japan’s biggest telecoms firm, NTT, and payments platform PayPal.

The Chongqing-based media outlet looked at the reasons why this little-known firm appears to be punching above its weight when it comes to blockchain-related research.

Chongqing Xiaoyudian reportedly has some 300 employees, and focuses on providing small-scale loans. However, it has positioned itself as a fintech firm, and last year made extensive use of a Chongqing local government-run blockchain and tech drive to gain a funding boost. Chongqing has been offering funding grants to local firms making use of blockchain technology, as part of a wider adoption plan.

The Chinese city operates the Liangjiang New Area, a newly opened industrial and IT hub. And per Jiemian last year enlisted the aid of blockchain and cryptography experts from the United States in a bid to set up its own blockchain research lab.

Chongqing Xiaoyudian has tapped into this resource, which was designed to help companies recruit and train post-doctoral level blockchain researchers “from China and abroad,” offering “generous remuneration.”

The firm has also invested 10% of its operating income into blockchain and industry 4.0-related research efforts, and 14% of its staff are educated to master’s degree level or above.

The firm spent USD 7.4m on R&D in the period 2017 to 2019.

And the Chonqing Daily claims that the upshot of all this has been a whopping 148 patent applications related mostly to “artificial intelligence, blockchain and big data modeling” as of August this year – almost 30 of which were made to overseas patents offices.

Sixteen of the patents were solely devoted to blockchain technology adoption.

The company’s growth has been rapid, the report concluded. Chongqing Xiaoyudian states that it has 1 million customers, and has issued some USD 1.5bn in loans.

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