China’s insurance regulator will remove restrictions on foreign ownership of domestic life insurance companies starting from 2020.
On 9 December the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) released the “Notice Concerning Clarification of the Timeframe for the Cancellation of Foreign Ownership Restrictions on Joint-venture Life Insurance Companies” (关于明确取消合资寿险公司外资股比限制时点的通知).
According to the Notice all restrictions on foreign ownership of joint-venture insurance companies that engage in life insurance operations will be officially cancelled starting from 1 January 2020, giving foreign investors the opportunity for full ownership.
The move comes just after CBIRC lifted the foreign ownership threshold for joint-venture life insurance companies to 51% on 6 December.
Beijing has been driving opening of the Chinese finance sector over the past two years, with the announcement of 15 measures for opening of the insurance sector in 2018, and a total of 19 measures by CBIRC in 2019.