LONDON, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Prudential plc is confident in China's economy and will evolve in China's open financial market, Mike Wells, chief executive of the British multinational life insurance and financial services company, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Prudential has been in the Chinese market for nearly 20 years, having established the first China-Britain insurance joint venture with CITIC Group in China in 2000.
"We have an insurance business, which is mostly life and health, and very successfully continues to grow," Wells said. "Now we want to evolve and compete more directly with some of the major Chinese firms."
"Our strategy has multiple legs. We have three pension licenses now. We're trying pension products because, if you think of the demographics in China, retirement savings and income are going to be a very big business and that's one of our specialities globally," Wells said. "We think that's a very important part of our China strategy."
Last year, China took multiple measures to strengthen opening-up in the financial sector, such as abolishing the restrictions on the share-holding ratio for foreign investment in bank and asset management companies. After that, Prudential's asset management company, Eastspring, launched in December its Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in Shanghai.
"We are building a modern platform in China, which is very digital and cloud-based. This is where consumers want to interact with us. We mostly use Wechat and Alipay. There are very little cheques and cash on this platform," he said.
In January, Prudential's joint venture in China, CITIC-Prudential, received regulatory approval to establish a branch in China's Shaanxi province, marking the company's 20th branch in China.
"We are having a lot of conversations with investors about the scale of some provinces and cities in China," Wells said. "We need to put in a lot of infrastructures to succeed in this market. It's still a work in progress."
When talking about financial cooperation between Britain and China after Brexit, Wells believes that the relationship between the two countries will remain good.
"The relationship was good before the Brexit vote. It is certainly good now and will be more important to both nations afterwards. China wants to continue to grow. Foreign markets are a big part of that. London should be a key hub to raise capital from international markets. So I see the cooperation growing," he said.