China's mainland to be biggest market for AIA


AMERICAN International Assurance aims to build China's mainland as its largest market over the long term despite life insurers facing tough conditions this year, executives said in Chengdu yesterday.

Ng Keng Hooi, AIA's regional chief executive who oversees Malaysia, Singapore, the mainland and Taiwan markets, said the mainland is now the company's fourth-largest market and will become the biggest "eventually" due to the country's robust economy.

"China's mainland has cut its economic growth forecast from 8 percent to 7.5 percent, but it is still the engine of Asia's economy," Ng said. "The potential here is huge."

John Cai, CEO of AIA China, said slower economic growth will make it tough for Chinese life insurers this year.

Insurers on the mainland reported weaker profits last year after the regulator banned insurance agents from selling products in banks and also from losses in the value of their investments.

Hong Kong-listed China Taiping Insurance Holding Co reported on Monday that net profit sank 78 percent to HK$495 million (US$98 million) in 2011.


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