Allianz has been given the green light in China. Photo: AFP/ Andreas / DPA / Gebert
Allianz has been given the green light in China. Photo: AFP/ Andreas / DPA / Gebert

Promise fatigue has become a regular gripe from the European Union’s Chamber of Commerce in China when it comes to Beijing’s “opening up” policy. But the decision to allow German insurance giant Allianz to set up a wholly-owned holding firm in Shanghai next year is a step in the right direction.

On Sunday, China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission gave the EU-based company the green light, according to a statement released by the CBIRC.

In response, an Allianz spokesman stated that “more details on how the holding company will work will be shared” in the “preparatory process.”

During the next 10 years, China will continue to drive growth in the global insurance sector with premium-scale business expected to increase annually by 14%.

Still, the move proves that China is pressing ahead with its commitment to “open up” the fast-growing insurance sector “after a series of measures announced since the beginning of the year,” Wang Jun, the deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told state-owned Global Times.

Insurance sector

“China’s banking and insurance sector, with its great potential and vast market, is quite attractive to foreign investors, and many of them have applied to set up local subsidiaries since China loosened foreign ownership restrictions,” Wang stressed.

Excessive bureaucracy and “promise fatigue,” have been just two areas of contention for overseas companies trying to break into the world’s second-largest economy.

Earlier this month, the United States and the EU business lobbies in Beijing, along with the French and German ambassadors to China, called on President Xi Jinping’s government to announce crucial changes aligned to a rigid timetable.

“It seems like there [have been] good statements and good headlines, but what we want are concrete actions and a concrete timetable of reform,” Carlo Diego D’Andrea, chairman of the EU Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said. “We can’t let the CEOs of European companies in China set up their businesses on a foundation of hope that reform will come.”