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7. China Life Insurance
2008 sales: $55 billion

The country's largest life insurance company controls nearly half the market. After going public in 2003, China Life has also opened asset management and pension businesses to diversify.

That's been a mixed blessing. The world's largest life insurer was burned by the stock markets last year. Profits fell 45% to $3 billion. Yet, its core strategy of selling more life insurance policies looks promising. China's growing, urban middleclass is able to afford life and health insurance, and products like annuities. As more villagers move to cities, the demographics are in China Life's favor.

NEXT: Bank of China

Last updated October 21 2009: 11:01 AM ET
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