(Yicai Global) Feb. 14 -- China's state-level district Xiong'an New Area, in the heart of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, is operating the country's first blockchain-based home rental program to ensure the authenticity of properties, landlords and tenants.
The scheme was developed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s payment arm Ant Financial Services Group, China Construction Bank Corp. and major real estate agency Beijing Lianjia Real Estate Agency Co., online news outlet ITHome reported, adding that the service has been running quietly for almost a month.
Phony home rentals are a common scam in China, where supposed landlords claim to be out of town and that they will mail keys to prospective tenants once they receive a security deposit and rent up front. The landlord never sends the keys but will try to siphon more cash out of the victim before ignoring all communication.
Ant Financial provides the blockchain technology behind the platform while Lianjia and CCB offer house rental data and financial services. When renters use the tool, they will be able to check the authenticity of the landlord and property to protect themselves from cons. Landlords will also be able to ensure the suitability of tenants.
Xiong'an New Area was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and set up in Baoding, Hebei province, in April last year. It aims to become the driving force of creative development in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Several leading internet firms, including Alibaba, financial institutions and state-owned enterprises have already announced plans to open offices in the area.