Germany’s Allianz gains approval for first wholly foreign owned insurer

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/25 20:18:40

A view of German insurer Allianz's office building in Berlin, Germany. File photo: VCG

China has granted German insurer Allianz permission to set up the first wholly foreign-owned insurance holding company in the country, the banking and insurance regulator said in a statement on Sunday.

Allianz said the company expects to establish the subsidiary in 2019, adding that China is the central part of Allianz's Asian strategy, according to a report from

Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Sunday that "it doesn't matter which foreign company gained the approval first. The move proves that China is realizing its commitment to open up its fast-growing insurance sector, after a serious of measures announced since the beginning of the year."

In the next 10 years, China will continue to lead growth in the global insurance market, with its insurance premium scale expected to increase by 14 percent annually, according to a survey from Allianz.

"China's banking and insurance sector, with its great potential and vast market, is quite attractive to foreign investors, and many of them have applied to set up local subsidiaries since China loosened foreign ownership restrictions," Wang stressed.

According to a statement on the official website of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), the regulator has recently given approval to 10 financial institutions, including Fubon Bank, ICBC-AXA Assurance Co, and the Korean Reinsurance Co, to set up local subsidiaries.

"More permits will be issued to foreign financial institutions," Wang said.

Hong Kong's Chiyu Bank also received approval for a branch in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on Sunday, said the statement.

The CBIRC said it will continue to implement opening-up measures in the banking and insurance sectors, while improving its risk prevention and supervision capabilities.

Wang said that the newcomers are likely to offer services that can help them differentiate themselves from local providers as they aim to gain a place in the competitive Chinese banking and insurance sectors.

"These foreign companies have strength and mature experience in risk management and product design compared with local competitors, but at the same time, they need to localize their products based on the demands and habits of Chinese consumers," Wang said.

"Diversified and high-quality service will be more attractive to Chinese people," Wang noted.

In a major step in the nation's financial opening drive, the People's Bank of China (PBC), the central bank, approved the application of Express (Hangzhou) Technology Services Co, a joint venture between AmEx and Chinese fintech company Zhejiang Lianlian Group, for payment clearing services in the Chinese mainland on November 9.

"China is set to open up further at its own pace, and this will bring new forces into the country's fast-growing financial sector," Wang said.


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