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China likely among world's top ten insurance markets by 2010 (11/06/03)

   China's insurance market is likely to become one of the world's top ten by 2010, according to a veteran insurance dealer of China.

  "The country's insurance industry has witnessed a rapid 30 percent growth rate during recent years, from which we can draw such a conclusion," said Dai Fengju, chairman of the board of the China Reinsurance Group on Nov.6 at a forum on the international insurance in China.

 China's insurance market has been experiencing a flourishing period and the whole industry, including China's reinsurance companies, is undertaking a profound  shareholding-oriented reorganization to shape sound modern finance enterprises, he said.

   Statistics from the industry indicate that China had collected 296.8 billion yuan (35.9 billion US dollars) of premiums in the first nine months of 2003, equal to the total of 2002.

By last September, the country's insurance industry boasted 383.2 billion yuan (46.4 billion US dollars) of bank deposits, of which 354.7 billion yuan (43 billion US dollars) was taken for investment, up 42.8 percent and 53.6 percent respectively from 2002.

"With this amazing speed, China will become one of the world's 10 biggest insurance markets no later than 2010," said Dai.

 In China, only 3 percent of the population have health or medical insurance, a sign that there remains a huge space for commercial health insurance to develop.

 The Chinese government has been pushing social medical insurance as a basic medical safeguard for years. As a result, commercial medical insurers across the country covered 136 million people and earned 32.1 billion yuan (3.8 billion US dollars) in 2002.

 A decision published by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said that all commercial banks and securities, insurance and trust investment companies in the country must undergo further reforms to become modern financial enterprises with ample capital, tight internal management, safe operation, excellent service and good economic returns.

 "We shall promote the shareholding reforms in some qualified state-owned commercial banks, which will step up efforts in handling bad assets and increasing capital funds to create conditions for being listed on the stock market," it said, encouraging investors to participate in the restructuring of small and medium-sized financial institutions.



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