On 6th December 2019, the China Banking & Insurance Regulatory Commission ('CBIRC') published (i) 'Detailed Implementing Regulations Regarding Foreign-Invested Insurers' ('Implementing Regulations'); and (ii) 'Notice Regarding Timing for the Explicit Cancellation of Foreign Equity Limits Applicable to Joint Venture Life Insurance Companies' ('Notice'). The Implementing Regulations and the Notice took effect immediately.

Key elements contained in the Implementing Regulations and Notice are:

  1. With effect from 1st January 2020, the foreign shareholder (equity) cap (limit) currently applicable to joint venture life FIIs will be cancelled and rescinded. From that date, foreign shareholdings in life FIIs will not be limited, including the ability of foreign shareholder(s) to hold 100% of the equity in a life FII.
  2. FIIs in establishing and managing branches within China, will be governed by one and the same pre-existing regulations which have governed and continue to govern the establishment and management of branches by domestic-invested insurance companies ("DII") – i.e. 'Regulations Governing Market Access for Insurance Company Branches'.
  3. Qualifying criteria for prospective and current domestic shareholders (if any) of FIIs will be governed by one and the same pre-existing regulations which have governed and continue to govern DII shareholders – i.e. 'Regulations Governing Insurance Company Shareholders'.