How Jessica Tan Became The 2nd Most Powerful Woman Outside US

Two weeks ago, Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching was ranked the 20th most powerful woman outside the United States in 2020 by business magazine Fortune.

Contrary to media reports, she is not the only Singaporean to make the list.

The other Singaporean who made the cut is Jessica Tan, co-CEO and executive director of Ping An Group, China’s largest insurance company.

She is ranked the second most powerful woman outside the United States this year after making her list debut in fourth place last year.

But who exactly is Jessica Tan and how did she come to be the head of one of China’s biggest companies?

She graduated from MIT

Like many Singaporeans, Jessica attended a neighborhood school – the now defunct Kebun Baru Primary School – in Ang Mo Kio.

Her A-level grades were good enough to get her into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but she didn’t go the scholarship route.

To finance his studies abroad, his father – who was an employee of the American technology company Texas Instruments – even borrowed money.

Jessica Tan ping a group
Image Credit: McKinsey

However, its savings were wiped out when the Asian financial crisis erupted in 1998.

Jessica then juggled three jobs to get into college and applied for financial aid from MIT.

She successfully graduated with both Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Economics, and achieved a perfect GPA score for her Masters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

From McKinsey to Ping An Group

After graduating from MIT in 2000, she stayed in the United States and landed a job at leading consulting firm McKinsey.

During her time there, she worked in 15 different countries for 13 years and became an associate.

Once she was reassigned to Singapore under McKinsey and worked with Ping An Group, which was then attempting to build one of the largest shared service centers in China.

Jessica helped Ping An develop a major new campus in China – a job she was reluctant to take.

Her fluency in Chinese was not so good at first and she feared that she would have difficulty working with Chinese people.

Peter Ma ping a band
Peter Ma / Image Credit: SCMP

However, she had the opportunity to meet Peter Ma, founder of Ping An Group, who built the business from scratch and strongly encouraged risk-taking.

She made the career change in 2013 to Ping An after 13 years as a consultant and moved to their Shenzhen office where she was based.

Nominally an insurance company, but actually a data-driven technology company, Ping An Group ranks 29th Fortune Global 500.

Rise through the ranks to become Co-CEO and Executive Director

Ping a life insurance from china
Image credit: Reuters

Aged 43, he has now served as Co-CEO since 2018 and Group Executive Director since 2019, after joining the firm as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) in 2013.

As COO, Jessica sailed Ping An’s deep dive into tech. As part of her role as Co-CEO, she continues to oversee the group’s technology companies, which are the backbone of the company’s operations.

During his tenure at Ping An, the Group achieved record profits and doubled its share price.

Jessica Tan ping a group
Jessica Tan / Image Credit: Ping An Technology

The Group has also become one of the largest financial services companies in the world with more than 210 million individual customers and 560 million Internet users.

She has also personally incubated and managed some of the following: an online wealth management and lending company Lufax, financial technology company SaaS OneConnect, automotive internet platform Autohome, as well as Ping An Smart City.

Led Ping An’s healthcare during COVID-19

Jessica Tan ping a group
Screenshot of the Bloomberg video

Their recent technological breakthroughs in healthcare, led by Jessica, include Ping An Good Doctor, Ping An Smart Heathcare, and Ping An HealthKonnect.

Ping An Good Doctor provides end-to-end service to patients, including 24/7 online consultations, prescriptions, referrals, appointments, second medical opinions, and drug deliveries.

These services are supported by the full-time in-house medical team and the proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) -based medical system.

In 2019, Ping An Good Doctor became China’s largest online health services platform, with over 315 million registered users, 729,000 average daily consultations, and a professional network of over 3,000 hospitals and 94,000 pharmacies.

Ping a good doctor
Image Credit: Ping An Good Doctor

Between January 22 and February 6, as the COVID-19 epidemic peaked in China, the number of new registered users increased tenfold compared to the period from January 1 to 21.

The average number of daily online visits has also increased nine-fold over the same period.

For medical service providers, Ping An Smart Healthcare launched its COVID-19 smart image reading system in early 2020 to help physicians make fast and accurate diagnoses – in as little as 15 seconds, with a rate accuracy greater than 90%.

As of July 2020, Ping An Smart Healthcare was supporting a network of nearly 17,000 medical facilities in 90 cities across China.

For payers, such as social health insurers, Ping An HealthKonnect uses advanced algorithms and technologies to create anti-fraud and value-for-money models for healthcare to reduce overprocessing, fraud and abuse.

By the end of 2019, Ping An HealthKonnect was providing services to more than 800 million people in more than 200 cities.

Led by Jessica, these accomplishments clearly underscore why she deserves her place as the second most powerful woman outside of the United States.

Featured Image Credit: PRNewsfoto / Ping An Technology / FinanceAsia

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Jothi Venkat

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