Ping An Targets Japan in Bid to Diversify Outside of China

Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. plans to invest $100 million a year in Japanese companies as it seeks to diversify its investments outside of China.

China’s second-largest insurer will put money with private equity funds that invest in sectors including food, consumer products and services, medical and healthcare, said Takeshi Nakabayashi, president of Ping An Japan Investment, a Tokyo-based unit. Separately, Ping An plans to invest 9 billion yen ($80.1 million) to bring its stake in Ascot Corp., a local residential developer, to 73 percent, as it seeks to use the company as a platform to invest in the city’s real estate market.

The insurer, which has doubled assets over the past four years, is looking for ways to increase its investment return and manage currency risks as the yuan has slumped versus the dollar. To get a higher and more diversified investment return, Ping An is looking to invest overseas even as China’s regulators are clamping down on foreign acquisitions by Chinese companies.

As revenue from selling insurance has surged, Ping An has started to look for “investment opportunities more intensively outside of China,” Nakabayashi said.

Read about Ping An’s 15 percent rise in profit last year

The Japan unit was set up in November 2015 with a plan to invest $50 million through private equity, but that target has doubled to $100 million a year, said Nakabayashi.

Property Push

Ping An plans to provide funding and marketing support for medium to large Japanese companies that either plan to enter China’s market or are benefiting from inbound tourism to Japan. It is looking to invest in companies with enterprise…

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