French giant Scor eyes China in 2005
¡°We applied for a license last April to do business China-wide, so we are waiting. For our competitors and colleagues, (approval from Chinese authorities) has taken up to two years. We are hoping for 2005,¡± said Denis Kessler, CEO of Scor.
The license would allow his company to conduct non-life reinsurance business in one of the world's largest insurance markets, Kessler said.
Although China's insurance industry was still in an embryonic phase, it had been growing rapidly, he noted, hoping to extend the license to life business in the future.
This follows Chinese insurance watchdog¡¯s report that 39 foreign insurance companies have entered China, operating 70 service outlets.
According to the report released Saturday by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), foreign insurance companies including joint ventures now account for more than 50 percent of the country¡¯s total number.
The CIRC has approved two foreign insurance companies this year, which have added 16 outlets in the country.
Currently, China has opened 15 cities to foreign insurance companies, namely Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dalian, Shenzhen, Foshan, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Suzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, Shenyang, Wuhan and Tianjin.
China has pledged to fully open its insurance sector by the end of this year, when all regional restrictions on foreign companies will be abolished.
By then, foreign insurance companies could open branches in any Chinese city as long as they went through necessary examination and approval procedures, the CIRC said.
When speeding up the opening of the industry, China had also encouraged homegrown firms to expand overseas markets, the report said.
Up to date, Chinese insurance companies have set up more than 40 offices in
Southeast Asia, Europe and North America.