Four domestic banks have applied to invest in China’s insurance industry, and the government’s insurance regulator will also expand investment opportunities for insurers, state media reported. The requests from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and Bank of Beijing will be considered by the State Council. The insurance regulator and the China Banking Regulatory Commission are now drafting rules on the subject. Chinese insurers generated combined investment returns of US$9.51 billion in the first half of this year, and they are seeking alternatives to the stock market, which has declined dramatically in recent months. Domestic insurers had 10.7% of their assets in equities at the end of June, down from 17.7% at the end of 2007. The share of mutual funds fell to 6.9%, from 9.5%. Their assets in bonds grew to 53.6%, up from 44% at the end of 2007. Bank deposits accounted for 25.8% of insurers’ assets at the end of June, up from 24.4%.