Thanks to mar­ket re­forms, fi­nanciers and in­sur­ers can show off their lat­est prod­ucts

Shanghai Daily - - CIIE - Tracy Li

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has an­nounced that the coun­try will ex­pand the ac­cess of for­eign play­ers to its mar­ket and fur­ther open up the fi­nan­cial sec­tor, es­pe­cially in in­surance.

He made the pledge at this year’s Boao Fo­rum for Asia.

In re­sponse to his call, the Shang­hai Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Of­fice rolled out new mea­sures for fi­nan­cial re­form and mar­ket open­ing in May.

Among other things, it ap­proved an ap­pli­ca­tion from ICBC-AXA Life Co to es­tab­lish an as­set-man­age­ment com­pany and sup­ported Shang­hai-based Bright Food Group in its bid to set up a con­sumer fi­nance com­pany with a French bank.

For­eign in­surance bro­kers are set to ex­pand their busi­ness in China.

Wil­lis In­surance Bro­kers Co, a sub­sidiary of Lon­don-based Wil­lis Tow­ers Wat­son Group, was the first to get the nod from the Shang­hai bureau of the China In­surance Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion to en­large its busi­ness scope.

The firm’s busi­ness was pre­vi­ously con­fined to large-scale en­ter­prises, but now it is al­lowed to serve com­pa­nies of all sizes, as well as in­di­vid­u­als.

Xu Huizhi, Wil­lis In­surance chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said he be­lieves China’s new­est poli­cies of­fer plenty of room for for­eign com­pa­nies to bring more global ex­per­tise to the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy. To bet­ter cap­ture the op­por­tu­ni­ties in this round of fi­nan­cial re­forms, JLT In­surance Bro­kers Co (JLT China) has moved its head­quar­ters from Guangzhou to Shang­hai.

“It makes sense for us be­cause Shang­hai is build­ing it­self into an in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial hub and we will be closer to our part­ners here,” said JLT China Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Rong Hong­gang.

Rong said JLT will tar­get the ris­ing num­ber of af­flu­ent Chi­nese with tai­lor-made prod­ucts.

As the world’s sec­ond-largest im­porter, China ex­pects to im­port goods val­ued at US$24 tril­lion in the next 15 years.

The China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo, a ma­jor ini­tia­tive of Pres­i­dent Xi, is ex­pected to at­tract 150,000 par­tic­i­pants from 130 coun­tries.

The In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial Bank of China, the coun­try’s largest com­mer­cial lender, said that it will launch a cost-sav­ing pay­ment so­lu­tion called ICBC Quick Re­mit­tance for the expo and cus­tomers.

The Bei­jing-based lender will tap its strong global clear­ing net­work to of­fer its cus­tomers same-day, cross-bor­der pay­ments through mul­ti­ple chan­nels such as the counter and In­ter­net bank­ing plat­form, Cao Qi, vice pres­i­dent of the bank’s Shang­hai branch, said at a re­cent event hosted by the Shang­hai Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

Bank of China said that it will pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice pack that in­cludes pay­ments, for­eign ex­change, guar­an­tees and fi­nanc­ing for ex­hibitors and buy­ers dur­ing the six-day expo.

The lender has de­vel­oped a tai­lor-made trans­ac­tion sys­tem called GMS specif­i­cally for the event.

It will fa­cil­i­tate cross-bor­der, deal-mak­ing for ex­hibitors and buy­ers.

Yu We­ichi, vice pres­i­dent of the bank’s Shang­hai branch, pre­dicts that there will be sharp rise in the need for for­eign ex­change dur­ing the trade expo, and the bank will of­fer forex ser­vices in as many as 33 cur­ren­cies. Yu added that they will also pro­vide fast and con­ve­nient on­site pay­ment ser­vice by al­low­ing peo­ple to scan a quick re­sponse code and of­fer on-the-spot trans­la­tion ser­vices to bet­ter meet clients’ needs.

The Bank of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions said it will pro­vide par­tic­i­pants spe­cial fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­clud­ing pol­icy con­sul­ta­tion, one-stop ac­count ser­vices and con­ve­nient for­eign-cur­rency ex­change.

Xu Bin, pres­i­dent of the lender’s Shang­hai branch, said pref­er­en­tial treat­ment will be pro­vided to cus­tomers in ar­eas such as open­ing new ac­counts and cross-bor­der set­tle­ment ser­vice fees.

For­eign banks are also gear­ing up their pres­ence and ser­vices.

Citibank (China) said it will of­fer sup­ply chain fi­nance ser­vices for ex­hibitors by lever­ag­ing its ad­van­tages in global trade and its ex­pe­ri­ence in pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tive busi­ness in the China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone.

MUFG Bank (China) Ltd, a mem­ber of Ja­pan’s largest multi­na­tional com­mer­cial bank, said it will use its ad­vi­sory ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence in pay­ment so­lu­tions and cash man­age­ment to pro­vide strong sup­port dur­ing the event.

In­surance com­pa­nies have also cre­ated di­ver­si­fied ser­vice so­lu­tions for the up­com­ing expo.

China Life, the largest life in­surer in China, said it will of­fer free per­sonal ac­ci­dent in­surance for all ex­hibitors, spec­ta­tors, me­dia per­son­nel and vol­un­teers dur­ing the expo un­der a plan val­ued at 150 bil­lion yuan (US$21.5 bil­lion).

China Pa­cific Prop­erty In­surance Co, a sub­sidiary of in­surance gi­ant China Pa­cific In­surance (Group) Co, said that it will of­fer a set of risk man­age­ment so­lu­tions worth 35 bil­lion yuan for the gath­er­ing, based on its ex­pe­ri­ence in prop­erty and ca­su­alty in­surance, es­pe­cially in serv­ing large-scale ex­hi­bi­tions.

The Shang­hai-based un­der­writer has set aside a spe­cial fund of 100 mil­lion yuan for in­surance claims set­tle­ment and a spe­cial hot­line which will pro­vide 24 hours bilin­gual ser­vices dur­ing the expo.

To help guests bet­ter cope with new types of risks, it has rolled out poli­cies to cover ar­eas such as in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty right in­fringe­ment, In­ter­net se­cu­rity and cus­toms tar­iff guar­an­tees.

What’s more, par­tic­i­pants at the ex­hi­bi­tion can buy in­surance poli­cies on the of­fi­cial expo web­site or through a ded­i­cated ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­oped for the event by the in­surance com­pany.

“Per­son­nel se­cu­rity is our top pri­or­ity,” said Shao Fei­hao, a risk man­age­ment spe­cial­ist from the in­surer’s Shang­hai of­fice, and also a mem­ber of the spe­cial team serv­ing the trade fair.

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