FWD Hong Kong, the insurance arm of Pacific Century Group, chaired by Richard Li, younger son of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, has applied to the CIRC for a life insurance licence.
The company believes its plan to tap the mainland market conforms with the State Council's blueprint for promoting the development of diversified health insurance, reported China Daily. It aims to start operating on the mainland by specialising in online health insurance products and services.
"The mainland authorities have come up with a list of requirements that we need to fulfil. One of the key conditions is having a representative office up and running there (the mainland) for two years prior to winning a licence. That's the reason we didn't apply for the licence earlier. As a young company, we need to wait for some time until our Shanghai office can satisfy such a requirement," said Mr David Wong Tai-wai, CEO of FWD Life Insurance.
He added: "As far as we know, there are more than 200 companies queuing up for licences, but no one knows how long it will take before approval can be obtained. We hope to get the licence within two years."
In January, CIRC lowered the maximum shareholding by a single investor to 33% from 51%, which means overseas insurers will have to find two partners instead of one to set up an insurance company on the mainland.