With the rapid development of China's insurance sector, an increasing number of insurers are expanding overseas.

Efforts include setting up subsidiary companies, acquiring international insurance companies, buying properties around the world and providing insurance services for Chinese companies that are going global.

China Life, the country's largest insurer, is planning to launch a subsidiary in Malaysia this year, the company's former chairman Yang Chao told China Daily on Saturday.

"China Life's overseas expansion will start from Southeast Asia, targeting overseas Chinese at first," said Yang, who is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee.

In 2014, regulators approved a China Life subsidiary in Singapore with registered capital of $100 million, the insurer's first international venture.

"I am also very optimistic about Indonesia. If there are appropriate opportunities, acquiring a local insurer is a good choice to enter the market," Yang said.

Insurance companies expanding overseas

China Life also announced it was joining forces with Singapore-listed Global Logistics Properties to finance the $4.55 billion acquisition and a controlling 66 percent stake in Industrial Income Trust Inc, a Denver-based industrial real estate trust in the United States.

The insurer's other headline overseas deals included joining with Ping An Insurance and global property developer Tishman Speyer in April last year to launch a $500 million Boston development project known as "Pier 4". It also co-invested with Qatar Investment Authority and Songbird Estates to buy "10 Upper Bank Street" in London's Canary Wharf in 2009.

International real estate service provider JLL forecasts that Chinese insurance groups will allocate up to $240 billion for real estate deals outside the country in the years to come. However, their property holdings still remain small at 1 percent, compared with their US or European counterparts, which tend to have real estate allocation targets of 5 to 15 percent.

In November, Anbang Insurance Group Co agreed to buy HRG Group Inc's Fidelity & Guaranty Life for about $1.6 billion in cash, expanding investments in the US after closing the purchase of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York for $1.95 billion. The buying spree since then has also included an office property from the Blackstone Group and financial companies including Belgian insurer Fidea NV and South Korea's Tongyang Life Insurance Co.

(Source :China Daily,by Hu Yuanyuan)

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