By Chao Deng
BEIJING — In its latest move to show it is open for foreign businesses ahead of a summit with President Trump and other Western leaders, China paved a way for German insurer Allianz SE.
With a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies opening Friday, the monthslong trade battle with the U.S. and rising criticism of China’s trade practices from Europe are putting pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In recent weeks, Chinese regulators permitted American Express Co. /zigman2/quotes/203805826/composite AXP +3.70% to set up card-clearing services and blessed United Technologies Corp.’s $23 billion takeover of airplane-parts maker Rockwell Collins Inc. . The insurance and banking regulator said Sunday that it received Allianz’s request to establish what the regulator said would be the country’s first wholly foreign-owned insurance holding company. Allianz /zigman2/quotes/205544832/delayed DE:ALV -0.95% said the approval will allow it to expand investment in China.
An insurance holding company signals broad access to China’s insurance market, compared with a wholly owned entity in either life insurance or property and casualty insurance. Hong Kong-based AIA Group /zigman2/quotes/203565558/delayed HK:1299 +0.74% , which spun out of AIG, is the only foreign company operating without a local partner in China’s life-insurance market, and is limited to operating in only some cities. On Monday, French insurance company AXA SA /zigman2/quotes/202169431/delayed FR:CS +0.01% said it would buy full control of its Chinese property-and-casualty insurer, AXA Tianping Property and Casualty Insurance Co.
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