HSBC Insurance (Asia) Limited ("HSBC Insurance"), a member of the HSBC Group, has received regulatory approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission ("CIRC") to form a joint venture with National Trust Limited ("National Trust") in mainland China with the aim of boosting its insurance income and expanding its wealth management businesses.

HSBC Insurance and Beijing-based National Trust will each hold 50 percent of the joint venture company, named HSBC Life Insurance Company Limited, which will open for business in the third quarter of 2009.

The joint venture company will offer a wide range of products including life, pension, and medical insurance. HSBC Insurance plans to grow its business in China’s emerging insurance industry through bancassurance partnerships and distribution by insurance agents. The business will complement the HSBC Group’s existing China operations where it owns a 16.8 percent stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Limited and a 24.9 percent stake in Beijing HSBC Insurance Brokers Limited.

This joint venture with National Trust is made under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement ("CEPA"), which provides Hong Kong registered companies, including banks wishing to enter or invest in certain mainland China economic sectors such as insurance, access to greater opportunities in mainland China.