Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

China's Anbang to Invest More in New York After Waldorf Purchase

  • Insurance firm says it will hire more people in New York
  • Chairman Wu Xiaohui spoke at annual commerce chamber gala

Anbang Insurance Group Co., the Chinese insurer whose almost $2 billion purchase of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel set a U.S. industry record, isn’t done investing in the financial capital.

“New York has a lot of investment opportunities, just like in China,” Chairman Wu Xiaohui said Tuesday at the annual gala of the China General Chamber of Commerce, held at the landmark hotel in Manhattan. More investment and jobs brought by Anbang “will benefit both China and the U.S. economy,” he said without providing details.

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

“I’m confident in our investment in Waldorf Astoria,” Wu said, citing his company’s plans to turn the hotel into an “activity center” in the city.

High-Profile Guests

Since Anbang’s purchase, Waldorf Astoria has hosted high-profile guests including President Xi Jinping during his first state visit to the U. S. as China’s top leader in September.

Wu also expressed optimism on the Chinese economy, which expanded last year at the slowest pace since 1990, and pointed to good dividends from Anbang’s stock investments. The insurer paid HK$3.3 billion ($420 million) to raise its stake in Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. to almost 30 percent in December. Anbang also boosted in stake in China Vanke Co., injecting itself into a tussle for control of the nation’s biggest publicly traded homebuilder.

“China’s economy is still very healthy,” he said. “Most of our investments in China have stock dividend ratios of more than 5 percent.”

— With assistance by Dingmin Zhang, and Bonnie Cao

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