Aviva, the world's sixth largest insurer, has received regulatory approval for its joint venture company, Aviva-COFCO, to open a branch office in the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province on China's east coast.

Jinan is the province’s political, economic and cultural center, with a population of 5.69 million. It is also the hub of the transport and communication network of the Shandong Province, which has a total population of over 90 million.

This new license brings the total number of cities in which Aviva-COFCO has operations to 12. Aviva already has branches in four major provinces or municipal cities, comprising Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Fuzhou with seven additional sub branches in Leshan, Mianyang and Nanchong (Sichuan province), Zhongshan, Foshan and Shenzhen (Guangdong province) and Xiamen (Fujian province).

Philip Scott, executive director of Aviva International, said: We are delighted to have received this license for Jinan, particularly because it gives Aviva access to yet another significant region of economic growth in China. This license takes us a stage closer to achieving our longer term ambition of achieving an average 10% market share in ten provinces or municipal Chinese cities by 2010.