What is the current state of the domestic insurance industry in China and what impact are foreign firms making?
China's domestic insurance companies have been struggling to make up for lost time by restructuring, entering into creative partnerships and launching new services in this growing market. Insurance premiums in 2001 topped US$ 25.4 billion, up 32% over 2000. China now boasts more than 50 domestic insurers, the best of which have begun to respond to market demand for professional, well-branded products.
China currently has more than 30 licensed life and non-life foreign insurers, most of which are joint ventures or subsidiaries. American International Group, Inc. is leading the pack of foreign insurers with operations in Shanghai and in Foshan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, all in Guangdong Province. More recent entrants are launching operations and picking up domestic partners with cash or distribution outlets. New York Life International, Inc. has announced it will partner with appliance maker Haier Group Co., and Manulife Financial Corp. is working with Sinochem. The first batch of new insurers to be approved under the revised regulatory structure should start operations in early 2003.