UK-headquartered financial services group HSBC is to build on its footprint in China by launching an insurance venture there this year, reports suggest.
<p>The company is believed to want to tap into the burgeoning demand for insurance cover from China's expanding middle classes.<br /><br />Peter Wong, executive director of HSBC's Asian unit said the London-based lender was looking for a partner. He did not specify what form of insurance HSBC would enter.<br /><br />We plan to set up an insurance company and we are seeking partners, Peter Wong told Reuters on the sidelines of a banking conference.<br /><br />However it seems unlikely that Bank of Communications (BoCom), HSBC's existing Chinese investment partner, will be cleared to offer insurance, therefore the bank will have to look for other partnerships, Reuters reports.<br /><br />HSBC has a 19.9% stake in BoCom. <br /><br />Separately, local media reports in Vietnam indicate that HSBC's local operation has set up an international payment processing center in Ho Chi Minh City. The center is apparently aimed at catering for the needs of small businesses in that part of southeast Asia.</p>