HSBC targets Greater Bay Area with China JV buyout

May 4 2020 by Andrew Tjaardstra

HSBC Insurance (Asia) has entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% equity interest in HSBC Life China from its Chinese life JV partner The National Trust.

HSBC Life China was formed in 2009 as a 50:50 joint venture between HSBC and National Trust, and as of December 2019 had a registered capital of Rmb1.025 billion (US$145.1 million).

Headquartered in Shanghai, HSBC Life China is present in a further eight cities: Beijing, Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Zhuhai (which includes some of the key cities in the Greater Bay Area). HSBC Life already has a strong presence in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

The sum it has paid for the equity from the National Trust – a privately held trust company – is as yet undisclosed.

Noel Quinn, HSBC’s group chief executive, said: “Despite the current difficult environment engendered by the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to take steps to implement our growth strategy.”

Quinn continued: “This transaction supports our ambition to accelerate growth within our Asian franchise, particularly in the dynamic and fast-growing Greater Bay Area, where we fully intend to expand in all lines of businesses. It also allows us to further extend our capabilities in wealth, another area of strategic focus for the group.”

The transaction by the UK based firm follows the removal of foreign ownership restrictions on foreign-funded life insurance companies in China, which became effective earlier this year on January 1.

Bryce Johns, global chief executive of HSBC Life, added: “[This deal] will enable us to significantly extend our reach and amplify the scope of our life insurance offerings to meet the burgeoning protection, health and wealth needs of our customers in the Mainland.”

The transaction will be structured as a transfer of equity interest and is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.