News Life and Health15 Nov 2018

China:UK's Prudential says it has to grow quickly

15 Nov 2018

Prudential, Britain's largest insurer, sees that its biggest challenge in the mainland Chinese market is to grow quickly into the footprint which it has gained in the country.

Mr Mike Wells, Prudential Group CEO, told CNBC at the Singapore FinTech Festival which is being held this week, “We have licences in about 70% of the economic footprint now with China.”

“You’re not going to succeed across Asia if you’re not successful in China,” he said. Prudential has a 50-50 joint venture with Chinese conglomerate Citic.

Mr Wells also said that China is committed to opening up its insurance sector just as it has indicated, but it will be in its own time.

“Beijing is saying they have a plan for greater opening, and I think like everything in China, the time frame is misaligned with US time frames, ” he said.

China said this year it would increase the foreign ownership restriction in life insurance companies to 51% and fully scrap the ceiling three years thereafter. The current cap is 50%.

“I think China’s not looking for a flood of foreign models, insurers and management teams in the market but they are saying, ‘We want the expertise, the products, the capabilities,’” Mr Wells said.

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