The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corp. (HSBC), which despite its name is actually based in London, announced plans to to tap the growing insurance market in mainland China by opening branches of HSBC Insurance in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Founded in China in the glory days of the British Empire, the bank’s move marks in effect a homecoming. It has already reestablished banking ties with the People’s Republic, and the move into insurance sales is a natural one, given its Chinese roots.
While it’s well placed in the Hong Kong insurance market as the largest provider of medical insurance and the 5th largest general insurer, HSBC Insurance still has to grow its mainland business in order to qualify to fully enter the Chinese market, which requires a minimum $5 billion in capital and at least two years experience running representative offices.
The company indicated that it was also seeking to invest in Chinese companies, which would provide the necessary licenses to sell life, health and general insurance products on the mainland.
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