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China to relax M&A rules for insurance industry

China has decided to ease mergers and acquisitions (M&A) rules for the insurance industry, a move which will allow global firms to expand their footprint in the country’s $288bn insurance market.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) was quoted by Reuters as saying that the relaxed rules will allow insurers, including foreign insurance firms that are based in China, to own stake in more than one company in the same market segment.

Currently, foreign insurance companies are not allowed to own more than 49% of a domestic firm.

Scheduled to take effect on 1 June 2014, the new rules will be applied to both domestic and foreign insurance companies operating in China.