Bank shares have been popular among Chinese insurers due to their low valuations and stable performance. In the second quarter of 2011, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd (Ping An) increased its stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) from 188mn to 1.798bn shares, and The People's Insurance Company of China (Hong Kong) Ltd. (PICC) raised its holdings in Bank of China from 63.7mn to 197mn shares in 2011.

Small- to medium-sized insurers also lifted investments in banks. Anbang Property & Casualty Insurance Company Ltd bought another 263mn shares in ICBC and Sino Life Insurance Company Ltd. raised its holdings in Bank of China by 106mn shares in 2011. In total, insurers invested nearly RMB3bn in ICBC and Bank of China in 2011.

(Source: Yicai)