China Life Insurance may buy a stake in Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) in order to sell policies through its branch network, Bloomberg reported. ABC is already one of China Life’s biggest partners, its sales having driven 50% of the insurer’s growth last year. A stake would give the insurance company access to ABC’s 24,000-plus branches across China. More than half of ABC’s branches are in rural areas and it is the largest lender to China’s 800 million farmers. Analysts said that while China Life’s premium income is driven by large cities, rural operations would contribute a growing percentage of the insurer’s profits in the future.
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