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China Life to expand overseas presence

By Li Xiang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-03 08:07

China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's largest life insurer by market share, will invest actively in international markets, seeking greater exposure to assets including overseas stock markets, real estate and infrastructure projects, a senior executive said on Thursday.

Zhao Lijun, the insurer's vice-president, said that China Life remains "positive" on overseas investment and will seek opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China Life has invested in a string of overseas deals last year including a stake worth 346 million pounds ($452 million) in Aldgate Tower in London as well as the $2 billion stake in Starwood Capital Group's US hotels portfolio.

Meanwhile, the insurer will boost investment in domestic strategic and emerging sectors including healthcare, information technology and logistics, Zhao told reporters at a news conference in Beijing.

China Life will also actively invest in projects related with the reform of country's State-owned enterprises including debt-for-equity swaps to help reduce the debt burden of the SOEs, according to Zhao.

The insurer posted a 98.3 percent increase in net profit in the first three quarters this year, which soared to 26.8 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) due to higher investment income on the back of a rising stock market, it said in a statement.

The insurer has total investable capital of about 2.6 trillion yuan and it will stick to a steady and long-term investment strategy by investing mainly in bonds and stocks while exploring opportunities in alternative assets such as private equities and trust products, Zhao said.

China Life has also set up an investment fund of 12 billion yuan to invest in healthcare and medical industries.

The insurer also teamed up with internet giant Baidu Inc to launch an internet investment fund of 14 billion yuan.

It also tapped into the logistic sector by forming an 8.5 billion yuan fund with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's delivery arm Cainiao Network Technology Co Ltd. Lin Dairen, president of China Life, said that the insurer will continue to optimize its business and premium structures, expanding sales of protection products and increasing the proportion of its long-term premium income. He added that the insurer will continue to see double-digit premium growth in the coming years.

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