Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group and Zurich Financial Services this week received approval to establish general insurance operations in China.

JLT will launch insurance and reinsurance broking units across China through a new majority owned joint venture with Guangdong Ricsson Enterprises Co.

The venture, to be named JLT Lixin Insurance Brokers Co, will be headquartered in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in southern China.

It will focus on large commercial risks.

JLT's executive director, John Hastings-Bass, said: "This is an important long-term development for JLT in one of the key world markets and it has added a critical component to our worldwide service capability."

Meanwhile, Zurich has received a licence to establish a general insurance branch in Beijing.

The new unit, Zurich Insurance Company Beijing Branch, will focus on corporate customers, including foreign customers with activity in China.

Zurich said it was the first foreign insurer to be granted a licence to establish a general insurance branch by the Chinese authorities.