Tencent, a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate has decided to leverage blockchain technology to put an end to China’s counterfeit invoice industry. They have teamed up with the Shenzhen branch of the State Administration of Taxation in a blockchain-enabled digital invoice solution, designed to protect the authenticity of invoices by tracking the process of issuance and circulation.
The Shenzhen State Taxation Bureau signed a partnership deal with Tencent on 24th May to start a smart lab which would bring into service artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, the blockchain, and cloud computing. Under the terms agreed, the lab will use the technologies to optimize tax collection and explore blockchain application in digital “fapiao” (official tax receipts).
Tencent said that blockchain solution would be incorporated in the Mini Program platform of WeChat, the company’s popular messaging-social-media-and-payments app with more than 1 billion users and would also be included in the enterprise version of WeChat.
Pony Ma Huateng, Tencent’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the solution represents the first application of blockchain technology in the handling of digital invoices in China. He said:
“We hope to make every fapiao checkable, verifiable, reliable and traceable, and use blockchain technology to manage the whole circulation process of fapiaos.”
According to China Central Television, only in 2017, there were more than 18,000 cases related to the issuance of counterfeit invoices, which amounted to more than 300 billion yuan, filed to China’s public security authorities.
Blockchain’s ability to effectively record and track information has sparked interest in other fields. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, unveiled last year its use of blockchain technology to trace the genuine origins of its food products after holding a successful pilot project in China. By digitizing and documenting details into a unified storage platform, the technology significantly reduces the time is taken to trace a product back to a farm, which is expected to help achieve rapid and accurate product recalls if needed, and significantly reduce exposure by contaminated products.