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Prudential’s US$35.5bn bid for AIA, an Asian life insurer owned by troubled American conglomerate AIG, is plenty bold. The price exceeds the British suitor’s current market value and would require a mammoth rights issue. Markets are nervous about the aggressive move, sending the Pru’s share price down sharply since Monday’s announcement.

Prudential may be the boldest, but it is far from the only western life insurer with designs on Asia. The region’s fast growth and low insurance penetration is attracting attention from a number of firms, as detailed in an article on this blog’s parent site.