Hong Kong-based insurer FWD is planning to foray into Chinese market as part of its strategy to strengthen its non-life business in Asia, reported Reuters.

The insurer has already applied for a license to operate a majority-owned insurance joint venture (JV) in China, reported Reuters.

During a discussion about a potential initial public offering (IPO), FWD CEO Huynh Thanh Phong told the publication: “It would be good to have China, but having a growth story in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), having a stable profitability in Japan, having a strong base in Hong Kong will be pretty compelling.”

China is said to be the world’s second largest insurance market. Swiss Re Institute has forecasted that the Chinese market will account for 20% of global premium by 2029, up from 11% in 2018.

Huynh did not revealed any time frame for the IPO, saying that the final call will be taken by the board and shareholders of the company.

However two sources with knowledge of the development said FWD is planning for the second half of next year.

Recently, FWD Group has launched Islamic insurance known as takaful in the Malaysia market after snapping a 49% stake in HSBC Amanah Takaful (Malaysia) and rebranding it as FWD Takaful.

In July, FWD purchased Siam Commercial Bank’s life insurance unit for $3bn in Thailand.

Concurrently, it reached an agreement to buy the Hong Kong operations of American insurer MetLife for $300m.

Over the past six years, FWD has invested more than $6bn on half a dozen M&As. Malaysia is FWD’s ninth market since its inception in 2013.

Apart from Hong Kong and Malaysia, the company has operations in Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.