Seeks to leverage on the low insurance penetration and ongoing economic reforms in the Chinese market

HSBC Life Insurance Company, a joint venture of HSBC and Beijing-based National Trust, has launched its operations in Shanghai – reported Xinhuanet. It has been reported that in 2008, the total life insuance premiums in China was up by 48% compared to the previous year, second only to Japan in Asia.

However, David Fried, board chairman of the joint venture and chief executive officer of HSBC Insurance for Asia Pacific, said that premiums as a percentage of economy was abysmally low at 3.3%. The joint venture, which has registered capital of CNY500 million, is expected to offer life, pension and medical insurance products to the Chinese customers.

Zheng Haiquan, chairman of HSBC Asia Pacific, said: China is the focus of HSBC’s strategy in emerging markets. If HSBC has no insurance business in China, we could not be called one of the world’s largest insurance companies and China’s largest foreign bank, reported the newspaper.