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More Foreign-funded Insurance Companies Enter China
A total of eight foreign-funded insurance companies were recently approved by the Chinese government to operate or expand their business in the country.

The eight companies are Germany-based Gerling-Konzern Allgemeine Versicherungs AG and Allianz; Swedish Surich Insurance Company; the CNP from France; Transamerica Occidental Life from the United States; the Commercial Union Assurance Co PLC and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group PLC, both from Britain; and a Shanghai-based joint-venture with investment from French AXA, are either allowed to start businesses in life and property or enlarge their business scales.

Since 1999, when four foreign-invested insurance companies got permission to operate in China, more and more internationally-known insurance companies have turned their attention to the Chinese market.

Apart from the latest group of newcomers, 27 foreign-funded institutions under 19 foreign insurance companies are offering insurance services in China at present. Over 100 such companies have established some 200 liaison offices across the country so far, sources said.

Foreign-funded insurance companies, with strong competitiveness, have helped Chinese companies to mature and have also provided Chinese people with more choices.

China has promised an explicit timetable to open its insurance sector for the WTO entry. Domestic insurance companies will face drastic competition as well as more opportunities in the coming years.

Experts believe that China, with a big population and the anticipated reform of its social welfare system, will become the largest potential insurance market in the world.

(Xinhua News Agency 10/26/2001)

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