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Insurance Market Enters New Stage: Watchdog Official
China's insurance market has moved from "experimental opening up" to "full opening" with the country's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), a top ranking regulatory official said in Boao Friday.

Feng Xiaozeng, deputy chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, told a workshop on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia, which opened in this small town of south China's Hainan Province the same day, that the WTO impact on China 's insurance industry had been mainly positive and would stimulate the growth of the industry at a faster pace.

Many Chinese insurers would run into difficulties, such as the loss of market share and quality professionals, but this may also spur them to faster reform, accelerating the process of internationalization for Chinese insurers, he said.

There were 52 insurers in China by the end of 2001, including 32 foreign-funded firms, he said.

Premium income for the insurance industry totaled 219 billion yuan last year, 1.58 percent of which went to foreign-funded firms, he said.

The official stressed that China would fully abide by its commitment to the WTO concerning the opening of the insurance market.

Meanwhile, the Minister of the Information Industry, Wu Jichuan, said on the same occasion that China had already established an independent telecommunications regulatory system.

He claimed that the essential laws and regulations for the industry were already in place, while the reform of the telecommunications industry had also been basically completed.

Wu also said regulations on foreign investment in the telecommunications sector had been completed, which would allow domestic and foreign firms to compete in an open and transparent environment.

(China Daily April 13, 2002)

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