Anbang’s big leg up
Chinese insurer offers $11b to help European startups
Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd on Monday unveiled a threeyear loan program that will offer a total of 10 billion euros ($10.97 billion) to help Chinese startups and smaller companies to do business in Europe.
The plan was announced by Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui at the China-Belgium Economic Forum in Beijing. The loan will be extended through Anbang’s banking subsidiary Bank Nagelmackers in Belgium.
The loan program is part of Anbang’s response to a Chinese government call for greater support for local small business, which have faced growing difficulties in gaining access to capital amid the economic slowdown.
The program will also allow Anbang to gain a higher yield from its investments as insurers cope with more pressure on their investment returns, amid the low interest rate environment in Europe.
Under the program, each individual entrepreneur will get a maximum 1 million euro loan. So far 10 Chinese business owners have been approved for the financing, Wu said.
The loan project also highlighted Anbang’s commitment in the European market after its acquisition of Belgian insurer Fidea NV and Delta Lloyd Bank Belgium, later rebranded as Bank Nagelmackers, in 2014.
Bestknownfor its high-profile purchase of New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria hotel, Anbang has been the biggest Chinese investor in Belgium. Anbang said its presence in that country also reflects the potential for bilateral trade and investment between China and Belgium.
“Low interest rates in Europe and China’s labor cost advantage will create huge market potential that will be win-win for both Chinese and Belgian companies,” Wu told the forum.
Belgian Prime Minister CharlesMichel, who has just wrappedupa two-day visit to China, attended the economic forum on Monday and vowed to attract more Chinese investment.
Michel said that Belgium would serve as a springboard for pan-European development for Chinese investors.
The country’s international talent pool and competitive real estate market would also make it an attractive investment destination, he added.
“We have seen many good examples of Chinese investment in Belgium. Anbang is an investment success story for the Chinese in Belgium. We can do more and do better,” Michel said.