China's Sort Of, Open Insurance Biz

ING's China manager talks about the barriers remaining now that the mainland is officially open to foreign insurance players

Big things are expected of China's life insurance industry. With insurance penetration coming in at around 2%, compared to 4-5% for the heavyweights of Europe and North America, the market potential is clear. Foreign involvement is still nascent stages, dwarfed by three domestic giants responsible for 70% of business. ING arrived in China in 1993, growing its operations as the market opened to foreigners. The acquisition of Aetna in 2000 gave ING control over what is now known as Pacific Antai Life, a joint venture with China Pacific Insurance. ING Capital Life, a joint venture with Beijing Capital Group, came in 2002. Bartholomew Ng, China country manager for ING Asia Pacific Insurance, talked to CHINA ECONOMIC REVIEW about where he expects the market to go from here.

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