China Strategic Holdings, a battery producer and securities investment firm, has joined forces with Primus Financial Holdings to bid for a controlling stake in an insurance company in Greater China, the company said yesterday. It did not confirm or deny media reports that the acquisition target is troubled American International Group's Taiwan unit, Nanshan Life Insurance. China Strategic said it could not give more information about the acquisition, as the discussions were in the preliminary stage and of a 'confidential nature'. It said it had a non-legally binding memorandum of understanding with Primus - an investment firm founded by Robert Morse, Citi's former top banker for Asia - to bid for the insurer. China Strategic said it might plan to raise capital to finance the acquisition. AIG, once the world's largest insurer, needs to sell its units around the world to repay the US$182 billion bailout money it received from United States taxpayers. Nanshan Life, Taiwan's second-largest insurer by assets after Cathay Life Insurance, was established in 1963. With booked total assets of NT$1.5 trillion (HK$354.15 billion), the firm looks after the insurance and wealth management needs of four million Taiwanese residents. Analysts said neither Primus nor China Strategic had experience in running insurance firms and, because of the sheer size of Nanshan, they would find it difficult to secure a deal. There are other bidders for the Taiwan insurer, according to stockbrokers in Hong Kong. 'Aside from price as a consideration, it's also important to have relevant industry experience,' said Mandy Lam, a managing director at OSK Securities. AIG would not comment on the matter. China Strategic shares, which had been suspended in the morning, rose 18 per cent when they resumed trading yesterday afternoon before closing unchanged at 37.5 HK cents.