China’s Tencent to Use Blockchain in Fight against Tax Evasion

China's Tencent Holdings has entered into a partnership with a local tax bureau to use blockchain technology in stopping tax evasion.

Chinese technology and media conglomerate Tencent Holdings is collaborating with Shenzhen tax authorities to fight tax evasion through blockchain technology, Chinese media reported.

The Shenzhen State Taxation Bureau signed a partnership deal with Tencent on Thursday to set up a smart lab which would utilize artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, 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" (tax receipts).

The Hong Kong-listed company said:

“We hope to make every fapiao checkable, verifiable, reliable and traceable, and use blockchain technology to manage the whole circulation process of fapiaos.”

A fapiao is as an official invoice issued by the tax authorities with the purchase of any goods or services in China. The document is supposed to help keep tabs on taxes due, but many people buy fake fapiaos from underground sources to avoid tax payments or defraud their employers with reimbursements. Forgeries are easy to obtain in Shenzhen as they are openly sold in crowded areas and subways. They are also available in China’s famous electronic gadget market in Huaqiangbei.

According to Tencent chairman and CEO Pony Ma Huateng, the partnership with the local tax bureau underscores the opportunity presented by blockchain in managing digital invoices. Tencent will utilize a blockchain platform to link all relevant parties of a fapiao, ensuring that tax officials can locate the source of the invoice, validate its authenticity, and confirm reimbursement information. This will stop taxpayers from filing for multiple reimbursements using a single fapiao or a fake one.

China vies for blockchain leadership

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released a white paper early this week to underscore the country’s plan to establish itself as a leader in blockchain adoption in the real economy.

Yu Jianing, director of MIIT’s Institute of Industrial Economics and co-author of the paper, stated:

"Blockchain tech's adoption into the real economy will make cross-industry digital collaboration a reality, which can reduce operating costs and improve efficiency. Blockchain tech can establish a reliable platform for government supervision of food safety while improving life quality of Chinese and even global consumers.”