Interview: UK insurance CEO confident of China's future development

by Xinhua writer Yang Hairuo

LONDON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- China will build on the progress it has made over the past decades and "we are committed to playing our part in China's development", Mike Wells, chief executive of the British insurance company Prudential said Wednesday.

"I am confident that China -- as it continues to reform and open up -- will build on the progress it has made in the last 40 years," Wells told Xinhua in a written interview.

"In China, there is an important demographic element to this issue," Wells said, adding that Prudential can play an important role in providing financial protection against illness and ensuring that people can live longer productively and purposefully.

Prudential has been in the Chinese market for 20 years, having established the first China-Britain insurance joint venture with CITIC Group in China in 2000.

"In China, we have employed over 40,000 staff and agents in 18 provinces, and earlier this year we opened a new tech hub in Shenzhen, to support innovation across our group," Wells said.

"China's targeted initiatives in regions such as the Greater Bay Area are more important than ever in driving growth," Wells said. "We are committed to playing our part in these vibrant success stories."

The Greater Bay Area means the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Covering a total area of 56,000 square kilometers, the bay area had a combined population of about 70 million at the end of 2017 and its gross domestic product reached around 10 trillion yuan (1.48 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017.

"We are also keen to develop our asset management companies -- both our joint venture and our Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise -- by launching new initiatives to help Chinese people grow their wealth," said Wells.

After China took multiple measures to strengthen opening-up in the financial sector in 2018, Prudential's asset management company launched its Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise last year.

"We have been extremely encouraged by the Chinese government's desire to introduce more international competition in our sector," Wells said. "We will continue to work with the government on the steps that help deliver these goals."

Wells, an American businessman, became the chief executive of Prudential in June 2015.

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