The UK's second largest insurer Prudential plc has confirmed that its life insurance joint venture, CITIC Prudential, has been awarded a life insurance license for Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province on the south eastern coast of China.

This new license is CITIC Prudential’s 2nd provincial branch license awarded in 2006 and its 14th city license in total, furthering Prudential’s core strategy to expand in the rapidly growing Chinese life insurance market.

The development keeps Prudential ahead of main rival Aviva in the Chinese arena. Aviva has one license less than the Pru, having just secured its 13th mandate to operate its joint venture company, Aviva-Cofco, in Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province, in south central China.

CITIC Prudential’s Hangzhou branch is expected to be operational in Q4 2006.