London-headquartered life insurer Prudential is reportedly in talks to take full control of its Chinese joint venture with state-owned investment conglomerate Citic.
According to newswire Reuters, the firm is considering selling either some or all of its business in the US to concentrate on its Asian operations.
International Adviser reached out to Prudential, but the firm declined to comment on the matter.
The move stems from China lifting ownership restrictions on domestic companies; which, from January 2020, means foreign firm can hold 100%.
A formal application to increase ownership has not been made yet, the newswire reported.
But people familiar with the matter said Prudential is checking whether Chinese authorities would allow the shift in ownership, before making an official request.
They added that the authorities would be able to act fast if Citic was willing to sell its stake in the joint venture, due to a significant interest in boosting foreign investments post-coronavirus.
The life insurer had already planned to expand in China.
IA reported in 2018 that the firm was aiming to quickly grow its Chinese economic footprint, according to chief executive Mike Wells.
And now that the demerger from M&G is complete, with Prudential becoming an “Asia-led portfolio of businesses”, Wells added that the firm is looking to expand even further in the region.
This would be beyond its asset management arm Eastspring, which entered the Chinese market in March 2018 when it set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) investment management firm in Shanghai.