Insurance venture

CHINA International Trust and Investment Corp's banking arm plans to set up a joint-venture insurance company to take advantage of the emerging market.

The assistant manager of the Shenzhen branch of CITIC Industrial Bank, Wang Shuwan, said: ''It complements banking business and is a good way to diversify into a new business sector which has good potential.'' Existing insurance companies offered little cover in import and export credits, and in life insurance, foreign firms were not geared to the Chinese market, he said.

''Foreign countries have more detailed life insurance policies that cover various parts of the body. In China, life insurance is not that sophisticated,'' he said.

Mr Wang recommended that Chinese insurers link with foreign firms to learn their management skills.

China's insurance market is dominated by the state-owned People's Insurance Co of China, which has more than 90 per cent market share.

But market reforms have started to open the industry.