While insurers have gravitated towards alternative assets in search of yield and diversification, China Life increased allocation to government bonds.
Global asset owners believe China fixed income will bring good returns in the next two years, despite tougher regulations and some high-profile companies getting into difficulties.
The second-largest life insurer in Taiwan cuts its allocation to China bonds and raises its exposure to North America.
Capital continued flowing into China's onshore bond market last year, despite trade tensions and a depreciating yuan, a survey has found. Such allocations are expected to rise further.
Citi says mainland debt is now eligible for its EM and regional government bond indexes, but has not given a time frame for inclusion, sparking more debate among fund managers.
The Chinese asset manager is looking to feed demand from its parent insurance firm for foreign private assets, and Australia is attracting more interest amid uncertainty over the UK and US.
The hedge fund giant and three other asset managers – Aberdeen, AllianzGI and BNP Paribas Investment Partners – have been approved to trade China's interbank bond market.
International fund houses have received further clarity on investments into China's interbank bond market, say sources, but central banks remain the biggest drivers of fast-rising inflows.
Portfolio manager Bryan Collins does not expect to see mainland bonds included in global bond benchmarks for at least a year. He also plays down concerns about the onshore debt market.
Most applications are coming from European and US asset managers, with one firm planning to register 300 funds to invest in the market, CIBM settlement agents tell AsianInvestor.
Invesco aims to directly invest in China's interbank bond market this year, says its Asia-Pacific head of fixed income. The firm expects to see up to $400 billion in flows from fund managers alone.
Senior BNP Paribas executives believe foreign flows into China's interbank bond market are set to ramp up in the next three months, with banks and insurers leading the way.