Lloyd's is preparing to put its stamp on the markets in China with the development of an onshore reinsurance operation there.

The London market was granted a licence to trade in China last week.

Lloyd's said the move would give its market a foothold in China's fast-developing insurance market, as well as providing Chinese insurers with full access to the market.

Lloyd's chairman Lord Levene said: "Our focus now will be to develop and implement an operating structure within the next year."

' Willis has increased its ownership interests in China-based Willis Pudong Insurance Brokers to 51%.

China's Insurance Regulatory Commission licensed Willis to engage in insurance and reinsurance business last week. Chief executive Joe Plumeri said it plans to open 19 offices there.