A red letter day in the insurance world as China Life started selling its shares on the Shanghai stock market. So many investors wanted to buy shares in the country’s top life insurer that their price more than doubled. China life is not just an insurance firm, it also holds stakes in commercial banks and an electricity generating company.
The value of the shares means China Life is worth 98 billion euros, making it the second largest such company in the world after American International Group and ahead of the largest European insurers, ING, Allianz and Axa. The debut was a spectacular display of the strength of China’s stock markets, where the main index soared 130% last year. The Beijing government has been encouraging top Chinese firms to list their shares domestically. Analysts are concerned China Life’s shares are overvalued, but investors are focusing on its growth potential in a booming economy with a population of 1.3 billion and huge potential demand for life insurance.