Companies You’ve Never Heard Of: China Life Insurance (LFC)
If being the largest life insurer in the world’s most-populated country sounds like good business, it is. China Life Insurance Company Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LFC) is worth almost $100 billion, making it one of the most valuable companies in China — or anywhere else.
LFC generated U.S. $5 billion in after-tax profit in 2015. That’s 35% more than MetLife Inc (NYSE:MET), the largest life insurance company in the U.S. In fact, LFC is worth nearly as much as MetLife and Prudential plc (NYSE:PUK) put together.
There’s little reason to see China Life Insurance’s growth slowing, as more Chinese join the middle class and have extra income to provide for their families. But investors do need to be a bit wary: LFC is roughly 70% owned by the Chinese government.
That might imply an extra amount of risk in LFC stock, as being a minority investor alongside a one-party government has the possibility of turning out badly. Still, LFC has the largest market in the world — and that seems enticing.