MS&AD’s re-entry into China life insurance poses challenge

Japanese firm was the dark horse in race to buy CBA’s stake in a Chinese life insurer. While it celebrates its surprise win, it will do well to remember clinching the deal is just the opening skirmish in a battle to crack the market.

Japan’s MSAD Insurance is re-entering the world’s third largest life insurance market by teaming up with a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Japan Inc. will be watching the results with interest.

MSAD Insurance’s unit Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance said on Wednesday it planned to buy a minority stake in the fourth-largest Sino-foreign life insurer, BoComm Life, for Rmb4.325 billion $668 million in cash from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA.

BoComm Life is a unit of state-controlled Bank of Communications, which continues to hold the remaining 62.5% stake in the business and offers a formiddable distribution platform. China's fifth-largest bank will also hold the whip...

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