Ping An CIO: Exposure to China real estate troubles under control

China’s largest insurer says it is insulated from the troubles in the country’s property sector after taking steps to cut its exposure to developers in recent years.
Ping An CIO: Exposure to China real estate troubles under control

Ping An Insurance is staying calm despite growing concerns about turmoil in the Chinese property market and its ripple effect on the broader economy.

 “We believe property is something where we feel that we can totally control our exposure and risks. And at the same time, they are going to deliver a lot of the embedded value in the future,” said Benjamin Deng, chief investment officer of Ping An, at a media briefing on August 30, following the release of the company’s 2023 interim results.

Over the last two years, China's largest insurer has increased its investments in rental income property while cutting its exposure to developers.

Benjamin Deng

This shift came after the insurance giant took a big hit from its exposure to China Fortune Land Development a few years ago, allowing Ping An to avoid incurring further losses from debt-laden mainland developers.

“We now focus on long-lease apartments in tier 1 cities in China,” Deng elaborated.

At the end of 2022, real estate accounted for 4.7% of Ping Ang’s investment portfolio, with 60% invested in physical buildings. That amounts to a 10-percentage point increase from two years prior. The remaining 40% was in equities or bonds issued by developers or other property assets.

Ping An’s total assets under management sit at over RMB6 trillion ($823.4 billion) as of end-June 2023, up from RMB4.37 trillion at the end of last year.


Country Garden is the latest embattled developer looking to avoid a liquidity crisis.

The property giant raised concerns in July, after it sought a grace period of 40 calendar days to repay a maturing yuan bond.

The new deadline is September 2, but reports are suggesting the developer is now looking to extend that further.

While Country Garden has yet to default on its offshore debt obligations yet, fears of a crisis rose after it missed two dollar coupon payments worth $22.5 million.

Despite all those concerns around the stability of China’s property market and ripple effect on the broader economy, Ping An is staying positive.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic, there are more policies issued by the regulator, as China started to shift from high-speed growth to high-quality growth. The shift and transformation have been intensifying, so I think the market still has a great room for further growth in the near future,” said Jessica Tan, co-CEO at Ping An at the media briefing.

When it comes to the insurance giant’s future investments in China, Tan said the insurer will focus on “high-quality growth, meeting the needs of the real economy”.

“Our allocation is going to be more focused in the segment with good cashflow combined with the Chinese valuation system and Chinese characteristics. These are all going to be future criteria for us to decide the allocation in the near future,” she added.

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