On January 12, it was announced that one of China's leading websites in terms of traffic, the search engine Baidu, launched a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform called Baidu Trust. According to Baidu Financial, the BaaS, or at least a pilot version of it, has been operational since July 21, 2017.
A website for the newly released technology describes it, according to a translation, as a "self-developed project" that can be used for:
"Efficient and low cost traceability and trading, ideal for digital currency, payment and settlement, digital ticketing, bank credit management, equity proof and exchange-traded securities, insurance management, financial auditing and more."
Baidu says the product has already been applied to the tasks of "asset securitization and asset exchange … and has contributed to the first asset-backed securities exchange products using blockchain technology in China."
The company touts its customizability, which it says will make the platform suitable to a wide range of use cases.
Baidu has also conducted research into blockchain technology's utility in the fields of unmanned vehicles, AI, IoT, and distributed computing.
The firm has apparently been exploring blockchain technology's FinTech applications since 2015, and in 2013 it announced that it would be accepting the cryptocurrency bitcoin as the sole means of payment from customers of its security service Jiasule.
In October 2017, Baidu Financial joined the Hyperledger project, which explores a variety of distributed ledger technology use cases.
Tencent, another Chinese internet giant, has likewise been developing a BaaS platform, called TrustSQL.