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August 28, 2009

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HSBC opens China insurance JV

HOPING to tap the demand for financial protection by affluent Chinese, British banking giant HSBC opened its China life insurance joint venture yesterday.

The Shanghai-based joint venture, HSBC Life Insurance Co Ltd, was set up by the London-based bank and Beijing-based National Capital with a registered capital of 500 million yuan (US$73.2 million).

"It marks another milestone in our long-term commitment to China's mainland," said Vincent Cheng, chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp and director of HSBC Holdings Plc. "It would be very difficult for us to continue to claim to be one of the world's top insurers and China's largest foreign bank if we did not have an insurance business on the mainland."

Cheng also said yesterday in Shanghai that HSBC hopes to be one of the first overseas banks to list on the yuan-backed A-share market in Shanghai.

HSBC Life will cooperate with its affiliates, HSBC Bank (China) Co and Hang Seng Bank (China), as well as HSBC's partner, Bank of Communications, in the bancassurance sector.

The insurer also plans to recruit 500 agents in its first year of operations. It will offer retirement, educational and medical protection policies as well as wealth accumulation insurance services.

HSBC also holds 16.78 percent in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co and 24.9 percent in Beijing HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd, and the bank will develop the business of these two insurance firms, said Peter Wong, group general manager and executive director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.


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