Ping An Insurance has bought a 4.2% stake in Fortis NV, a Dutch-Belgian financial services company, for US$2.7 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported. The two parties are discussing setting up a joint venture in China that focuses on asset management or private banking. Fortis owns 25% of another Chinese insurer, Taiping Life Insurance. Analysts said Ping An did the deal to boost its expertise in distributing products through banks and other sales channels. Ping An has 17% of China's life insurance market. It will appoint a non-executive director to Fortis's board. It also has the option to increase its stake to 4.99%.