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Foreign insurers gear up to tap China's $1.6 trillion pensions business

Updated: 2019-04-12 14:49
The logo of British life insurer Prudential is seen on their building in London on March 17, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

HONG KONG - Foreign insurers including Generali and Prudential Plc are in early talks with authorities to enter China’s private pensions sector, people with knowledge of the matter said, as Beijing opens up to overseas companies.

Hong Kong-based AIA Group and Manulife Financial are also considering similar moves, they said.

Beijing gave approval to the first foreign joint-venture firm to establish a pensions insurance business last month and two of the people said China has been running pilot projects in three provinces involving foreign firms. Those projects end later this year.

Foreign insurers would compete with eight established Chinese pension insurance firms that dominate the potentially lucrative market, where the fast-greying population is set to produce 250 million people older than 60 by 2020.

“The average longevity of people in China is increasing but the pension market remains under-penetrated,” Prudential Asia Chief Executive Nic Nicandrou told Reuters.

Some of the foreign companies are expected to submit applications in the second half of this year to set up pensions businesses, the people said. They declined to be identified as the plans are not firm yet and also are not public.

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