Dutch life insurance company Aegon has officially opened its first branch office in China through its life insurance joint venture company in the Asian country, Aegon-CNOOC.

Aegon-CNOOC Life Insurance Company, the 50/50 joint venture of Aegon and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), officially marked the opening of its Beijing branch on Tuesday May 17.

The Beijing branch opening signifies Aegon’s first move to expand its operations in the rapidly growing Chinese insurance market, since it first established a foothold in the country through the launch of its joint venture headquarters in Shanghai in May 2003.

Commenting on the new development, Donald Shepard, CEO of Aegon, said: We are delighted with the success of Aegon-CNOOC’s operations in Shanghai over the past three years, success that has been largely driven by the strong and committed partnership between CNOOC and Aegon. We are confident that the foundation we have established will enable Aegon-CNOOC to succeed in Beijing and further develop the significant opportunities across China in the coming years.

Meanwhile, as Aegon-CNOOC Life Insurance celebrates its first expansion, its shareholders have agreed to substantially increase its capital base to facilitate future growth. The injection of fresh funds is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will take the total capital base up to $60 million.