Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 11 News List

China Life gets permission to increase its China investment

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Economic Affairs' Investment Commission announced yesterday that it has given Taiwan-based China Life Insurance Co (中國人壽) approval to invest US$32.3 million in its Shanghai venture.

"The approval allows us to carry on with our expansion plans in China," China Life deputy spokesperson Winnie Huang (黃之寧) told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

Upgrade

China Life, which set up a representative office in Beijing in August 2005, will be eligible four months from now to apply to upgrade the office into a subsidiary to officially run business in the fast growing market.

Foreign insurance firms need to have assets exceeding US$5 billion, a track record of at least 30 years and have had a representative office in China for two years before they can obtain permission from Chinese regulators.

Overseas insurers are required to team up with Chinese partners to tap into the market through a 50-50 joint venture.

Partnership plans

China Life has been in talks with several Chinese companies for partnership and plans to expedite the negotiation pace now that it has gotten the green light from Taiwan's investment regulator, Huang said.

A joint venture will be established in Shanghai, she said.

Huang however declined to name any potential partners.

Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), the nation's largest life insurer, made inroads into China in January 2005 by forming a joint venture with Beijing's state-run China Eastern Airlines Corp (東方航空).

Smaller rival Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) has applied to join up with with China's Hainan Airlines Co (海南航空), and is awaiting regulatory approval.

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