Germany’s Allianz Group has received Chinese regulatory approval to set up the first wholly foreign-owned insurance unit in the Mainland, two months after Beijing scrapped the 49% foreign ownership limit in insurance joint ventures to attract international investment.
The new unit, Allianz (China) Insurance Holding, is based in Shanghai and has a registered capital of 2.2 billion RMB (US$392 million), Allianz says in a statement on January 14. It did not say when the unit will begin operating.
According to the insurer, the new firm will support Allianz Group’s growth ambitions in China “by enhancing Allianz’s strategic and financial flexibility to capture business opportunities, further increase Allianz’s investment and drive long-term success in the market”.
Sergio Balbinot, a member of Allianz’s board of management, has been appointed chairman of the unit, and Solmaz Altin, the Asia chief executive, has been named the CEO.
“With the new holding structure in place, we are able to better serve an expanding middle class with our range of financial solutions. Allianz aims to play a larger role in China’s insurance sector and grow with the market,” Mr. Altin says in the statement.
According to Wang Guojun, an insurance professor at Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics, the new firm will speed up Allianz’s expansion in China.
“Allianz has already had two insurance joint ventures in China, Allianz Jingdong General Insurance and Allianz China Life, but the new unit will allow the group to diversify its business into investment-related products,” Mr. Wang tells Asia Asset Management.
Allianz had 2.28 trillion euros ($2.54 trillion) of total assets under management as of September 2019.