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Chinese Insurers Set for More Deals
Brief:With rules allowing Chinese insurance to invest 15 per cent of their assets overseas, Ping An's purchase of Lloyd's Building is just the start of a big wave.
Ping An Insurance (Group)'s £260 million (HK$3.07 billion) purchase of the Lloyd's Building in London was the first direct overseas property acquisition by mainland insurance companies. It will not be the last.

Property experts say Chinese insurers have been actively exploring buying opportunities overseas since the China Insurance Regulatory Commission relaxed rules in October last year, allowing them to invest in other countries.

Rasheed Hassan, a director of cross-border investment at British property consultant Savills, says Chinese insurance companies were mainly looking to invest in large headquarters office buildings that offered secure income and were centrally located in key global gateway cities.

"New York in America and London in Britain are the prime cities mainland insurance companies are eyeing as they have high liquidity and where international capital flows freely," said Humbert Pang, a managing principal and head of China of Gaw Capital Partners.

"It is very hard to make an estimation of how much capital will be invested by mainland insurance companies. Every deal has to be approved by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission," Pang said.

However, international consultant CBRE estimated US$14.4 billion of Chinese insurance capital would be poured into overseas real estate markets.

South China Morning Post

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