A source familiar with the development told The Korea Economic Daily that Anbang has inked a memorandum of understanding to purchase 57.5% stake in Tong Yang Life from South Korean private equity firm Vogo Investment for nearly KRW1.1trn ($1bn).

Founded in 2005, Vogo first purchased a stake in Tong Yang Life in 2006, and started a process to divest the insurer in 2011.

If the proposed transaction materializes, Anbang will be the first Chinese financial company to make forays into the Korean insurance market.

Tong Yang, which is one of the eighth-largest life firms in the country, had KRW19.7trn ($15.88bn) in assets as of the third quarter of 2014, and a 4.8% market share in terms of paid premiums.

In October 2014, Anbang acquired Belgium’s Fidea Assurances, marking the first time for a Chinese insurance company to purchase 100% ownership of a European insurance company.

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