Chinese insurer PICC rises 8% on Hong Kong debut

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Media captionAs PICC makes its market debut, investors in Hong Kong are in desperate need of good news

Shares in the People's Insurance Company of China (PICC) were 8% higher on the firm's debut in Hong Kong despite the tough market conditions.

The state-owned insurer raised $3.1bn (£1.9bn) making it the biggest share sale in Hong Kong in two years.

PICC priced its stock at 3.48 Hong Kong dollars (45 cents; 28p) per share, near the bottom of its indicated range.

Hong Kong has seen fewer and fewer major listings on its once red-hot share market.

PICC, founded in 1949, was the first country-wide insurance company in China.

It has about 130 million individual customers and about 2.4 million institutional clients.

The initial public offering was the biggest in Hong Kong since the $20.5bn listing of AIA Group in 2010.

However, the investment environment has been subdued this year in Hong Kong because of the slowdown in China.

Some companies looking to go public have delayed their planned listings, or dramatically reduced the amount to be raised.

Analysts said the PICC shares were boosted by individual retail investors looking to buy into the insurer after many were shut out of the deal last week.