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Allianz stays committed to China

ALLIANZ SE will continue to invest and expand in China despite the financial crisis, which has seen weaker demand for financial products, a senior executive said in Shanghai yesterday.

Its life-insurance joint venture, Allianz China Life Insurance Co, will maintain its geographic expansion, Werner Zedelius, a member of the board of Allianz SE, the world's biggest insurer by market value, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

The insurer will also boost its property and casualty insurance services in China and doesn't rule out opportunities for mergers and acquisitions of local firms in the long run, he said.

But the life insurer is seeing less demand for financial products due to the economic downturn in China, Zedelius said yesterday.

"The Chinese insurance market is more investment-driven rather than protection-driven," he said, indicating that the financial crisis and the fallout from China's stock market have a negative impact on the company.

The crisis will see the insurer sell fewer investment-linked insurance policies and more protection policies in China. Meanwhile, the shift of product focus to protection-based is also in line with the Chinese insurance regulator's encouragement to trim the investment portion of insurance products.

Allianz China has expanded into eight provinces in the mainland and the company is planning to start a new branch in Shandong Province within a month.

Zedelius declined to comment whether the German insurer will further dispose of its interest in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.


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