Lincoln National Corporation, one of the largest public insurers in the United States, will today open a representative office in Guangzhou as part of preparation for securing a business licence in China. 'We hope it will lead to our finding a joint venture partner and securing a licence to sell life insurance in China,' company president Robert Anker said. He admitted it would take some time before the company would obtain a licence in China as the priority was given to the development of domestic insurers. The company is having preliminary discussions with some domestic non-insurers about a possible joint venture for writing life, health and pension insurance. Mr Anker expected China would become the company's largest international operation in 20 years. To show its commitment in China, the company has already invested about US$53 million in the country and plans to inject another $11 million in the short and medium run. Its investment portfolio includes highways in Zhuhai, port facilities in the Pearl River Delta area and a manufacturing business. In addition to support in setting up an insurance education programme at Peking (Beijing) University and Hunan College of Finance and Economics, the company has decided to donate one million yuan (about HK$930,700) to Fudan University for organising seminars on international politics and economics. The Guangzhou office is Lincoln National's third representative office after Beijing and Shanghai. According to official statistics, there are 53 foreign financial institutions which have set up branches or representative offices in Guangzhou. Thirteen of them are insurers. Last year, insurance companies in the city earned more than two billion yuan from sales of insurance policies.