UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

  REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR 12(g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023.

 

OR

 

  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

  SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report

 

For the transition period from             to           

 

Commission file number: 001-33768

 

FANHUA INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

60/F, Pearl River Tower

No. 15 West Zhujiang Road

Guangzhou, Guangdong 510623

People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Peng Ge, Chief Financial Officer

Tel: +86 20 83883033

E-mail: gepeng@fanhgroup.com

Fax: +86 20 83883181

60/F, Pearl River Tower

No. 15 West Zhujiang Road

Guangzhou, Guangdong 510623

People’s Republic of China

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class   Ticker Symbol(s)   Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share*   FANH   The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC  
American depositary shares, each representing 20 ordinary shares       (The NASDAQ Global Select Market)

 

* Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on The NASDAQ Global Select Market of American depositary shares, each representing 20 ordinary shares.

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None

(Title of Class) 

  

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the Issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

 

1,134,236,184 ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share as of December 31, 2023

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes ☐ No ☒

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

Yes ☐ No

 

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

Yes ☒ No ☐

  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).

 

Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

  Large accelerated filer ☐ Accelerated filer ☒ 
  Non-accelerated filer ☐ Emerging growth company 

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards † provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

  

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

 

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

 

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

  U.S. GAAP International Financial Reporting Standards as issued Other ☐
    by the International Accounting Standards Board ☐

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

 

Item 17 ☐ Item 18 ☐

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Yes ☐ No

 

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

 

Yes ☐ No ☐

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION ii
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS iv
 
PART I 1
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers 1
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable 1
Item 3. Key Information 1
Item 4. Information on the Company 50
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects 85
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees 106
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions 117
Item 8. Financial Information 117
Item 9. The Offer and Listing 119
Item 10. Additional Information 120
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk 130
Item 12. Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities 130
   
PART II 132
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies 132
Item 14. Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds 132
Item 15. Controls and Procedures 132
Item 16. [Reserved] 134
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert 134
Item 16B. Code of Ethics 134
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services 134
Item 16D. Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees 135
Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers 135
Item 16F. Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant 136
Item 16G. Corporate Governance 136
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure 137
Item 16I. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections 137
Item 16J. Insider Trading Policies 137
Item 16K. Cybersecurity 137
   
PART III 139
Item 17. Financial Statements 139
Item 18. Financial Statements 139
ITEM 19. EXHIBITS139

 

- i -

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In this annual report, unless the context otherwise requires:

 

  “ADSs” refer to our American depositary shares, each of which represents 20 ordinary shares;
     
  “China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, including the special administrative regions of Hong Kon and Macau (“Hong Kong ASR” and “Macao SAR”), and only when this annual report refers to specific laws and regulations adopted by the PRC, reference to “China” or the “PRC” excludes Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR). Unless the context otherwise indicates, the legal and operational risks associated with operating in China discussed in this annual report also apply to any operations we may now or in the future carry out in Hong Kong SAR or Macau;
     
  “consolidated VIEs” refer to Shenzhen Xinbao Investment Management Co., Ltd. (“Xinbao Investment”), Fanhua RONS (Beijing) Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Fanhua RONS Technologies”) and their subsidiaries;
     
  “customer” refers to policyholder or our insurance company partner which we define as customer under ASC 606; and
     
  “HK$” and “HK dollars” refer to the legal currency of Hong Kong SAR;
     
  “Parent” refers to Fanhua Inc., a Cayman Islands holding company;
     
  “provinces” of China refer to the 23 provinces, the four municipalities directly administered by the central government (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing), the five autonomous regions (Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Guangxi), excluding, solely for the purpose of this annual report, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR;
     
  “RMB” or “Renminbi” refers to the legal currency of China;
     
  “shares” or “ordinary shares” refer to our ordinary shares, par value US$0.001 per share;
     
  “US$” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States; and
     
  “we,” “us,” “our company,” “the Company”, “our” or “Fanhua” refers to Fanhua Inc., formerly known as CNinsure Inc. and its subsidiaries and, in the context of describing its operations and consolidated financial information, its variable interest entities which are its consolidated affiliated entities, if applicable. As described elsewhere in this annual report, we do not own the VIEs, and the results of the VIEs’ operations only accrue to us through contractual arrangements between the VIEs, the VIEs’ nominee shareholders, and certain of our subsidiaries. Accordingly, in appropriate contexts we will describe the VIEs’ activities separately from those of our directly and indirectly owned subsidiaries, and our use of the terms “we,” “us,” and “our” may not include the VIEs in those contexts.

 

- ii -

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to Renminbi in this annual report are made at a rate of RMB7.0999 to US$1.00, the exchange rate in effect as of December 29, 2023 as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. We make no representation that any Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate, or at all. All discrepancies in any table between the amounts identified as total amounts and the sum of the amounts listed therein are due to rounding.

 

Our Corporate Structure

 

Fanhua Inc. is a Cayman Islands holding company primarily operating in China through (i) its PRC subsidiaries, including Fanhua Zhonglian Enterprise Image Planning (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., or Zhonglian Enterprise, and Fanhua Xinlian Information Technology Consulting (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., or Xinlian Information, and their subsidiaries in which we hold equity ownership interests, and (ii) contractual arrangements among (x) our wholly-owned PRC subsidiaries Fanhua Insurance Sales Service Group Company Limited, or Fanhua Group Company and Beijing Fanlian Investment Co., Ltd., or Fanlian Investment, (y) the consolidated VIEs, namely, Shenzhen Xinbao Investment Management Co., Ltd., or Xinbao Investment, and Fanhua RONS (Beijing) Technologies Co., Ltd., or Fanhua RONS Technologies, two limited liability companies established under PRC law, and (z) the individual nominee shareholders of the consolidated VIEs. Fanhua Inc. holds 49% equity interests in Xinbao Investment. Investors in the ADSs thus are not purchasing, and may never directly hold all equity interests in the consolidated VIEs. PRC laws, regulations, and rules restrict and impose conditions on direct foreign investment in certain types of business, and we therefore operate these businesses in China through the consolidated VIEs. For a summary of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” As used in this annual report, “we”, “us”, or “our” refers to Fanhua Inc. and its subsidiaries. 

 

Our corporate structure is subject to risks relating to our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment, Fanhua RONS Technologies and their individual nominee shareholders. If the PRC government finds these contractual arrangements non-compliant with the restrictions on direct foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if the relevant PRC laws, regulations, and rules or the interpretation thereof change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in the consolidated VIEs or forfeit our rights under the contractual arrangements. Fanhua Inc. and investors in the ADSs face uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government, which could affect the enforceability of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and, consequently, significantly affect the financial condition and results of operations of Fanhua Inc. If we are unable to claim our right to control the assets of the consolidated VIEs, the ADSs may decline in value or become worthless. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”

 

We face various legal and operational risks and uncertainties relating to doing business in China. We operate our business primarily in China, and are subject to complex and evolving PRC laws and regulations. For example, we face risks relating to regulatory approvals in connection with a future offering of our securities to foreign investors, oversight on cybersecurity and data privacy, and the expanding efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement. Uncertainties in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protection available to you and us, hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer the ADSs, result in a material adverse effect on our business operations, and damage our reputation, which might further cause the ADSs to significantly decline in value or become worthless. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China.”

 

- iii -

 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

 

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe-harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, including those listed under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors,” that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

 

You can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “likely to,” “potential,” “continue” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our goals and growth strategies, our future business development, financial condition and results of operations, our expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of our products and services, and assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

 

Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.

 

You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report and exhibits to this annual report completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

 

- iv -

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers

 

Not Applicable.

 

Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

 

Not Applicable.

 

Item 3. Key Information

 

The Consolidated VIEs and China Operations

 

Fanhua Inc. is a Cayman Islands holding company primarily operating in China through (i) its PRC subsidiaries, including Zhonglian Enterprise and Xinlian Information, and their subsidiaries in which we hold equity ownership interests, and (ii) contractual arrangements among (x) our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary Fanhua Group Company and Fanlian Investment, (y) the consolidated VIEs, Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, limited liability companies established under PRC law, and (z) the individual nominee shareholders of the consolidated VIEs. Fanhua Inc. holds 49% equity interests in Xinbao Investment. Investors in the ADSs thus are not purchasing, and may never directly hold all equity interests in the consolidated VIEs. PRC laws, regulations, and rules restrict and impose conditions on direct foreign investment in certain types of business, and we therefore operate these businesses in China through the consolidated VIEs.

 

We commenced a restructuring in August 2021 to re-establish the VIE structure for our online insurance business where our direct equity interests in Xinbao Investment were reduced from 100% to 49% and the remaining 51% was nominally held by an employee of the Company on behalf of the Company. The restructuring completed in December 2021. Concurrently, our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, Fanhua Group Company, entered into contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and the individual nominee shareholder. These agreements include:(i) a technology consulting and service agreement, which enables us to receive all of the economic benefits of Xinbao investment and its subsidiaries, (ii) a loan agreement, powers of attorney and an equity pledge agreement, which provide us with effective control over Xinbao Investment, and (iii) an exclusive purchase option agreement, which provides us with the option to purchase part of the equity interests in Xinbao Investment.

 

On June 24, 2022, our wholly owned subsidiary Fanlian Investment transferred all of the equity interests in Fanhua RONS Technologies to Mr. Peng Ge, our chief financial officer to hold the shares of Fanhua RONS Technologies nominally on behalf of the Company. Concurrently, Fanlian Investment entered into contractual arrangements with Fanhua RONS Technologies and Mr. Ge. The contractual arrangements are substantially similar to those among Fanhua Group Company, Xinbao Investment and its individual nominee shareholder.

 

For more details of the restructuring and the contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.”

 

In the opinion of the Company’s PRC legal counsel, (i) the ownership structure relating to the consolidated VIEs of the Company is in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations; (ii) the contractual arrangements with the consolidated VIEs and the individual shareholders are legal, valid and binding obligation of such party, and enforceable against such party in accordance with their respective terms; and (iii) the execution, delivery and performance of the consolidated VIEs and its shareholders do not result in any violation of the provisions of the articles of association and business licenses of the consolidated VIEs, and any violation of any current PRC laws and regulations.

 

However, control through these contractual arrangements may be less effective than direct ownership, and we could face heightened risks and costs in enforcing these contractual arrangements, because there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations, and rules relating to these contractual arrangements, and these contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law. If the PRC government finds such agreements non-compliant with relevant PRC laws, regulations, and rules, or if these laws, regulations, and rules or the interpretation thereof change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies or forfeit our rights under the contractual arrangements. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate StructureIf the PRC government finds that the contractual arrangements that establish the structure for operating part of our China business does not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties.” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with our consolidated VIEs, Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, and their shareholders to conduct a small part of our China operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership, and these contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law.” 

 

- 1 -

 

 

The following diagram illustrates the corporate structure of us and the consolidated VIEs, including the names, places of incorporation and the proportion of ownership interests in our and the consolidated VIEs’ significant subsidiaries and their respective subsidiaries as of March 31, 2024:

 

 

The diagram above omits the names of subsidiaries that are immaterial individually and in the aggregate. For a complete list of our subsidiaries as of March 31, 2024, see Exhibit 8.1 to this annual report.

 

Permissions and Licenses for Our Operations in PRC

 

We conduct our business primarily through our subsidiaries, the VIEs, and their subsidiaries in China. As of the date of this annual report, our subsidiaries, the VIEs, and their subsidiaries in China have obtained the requisite licenses and permits from the PRC government authorities that are material for our operations in China, including, among others, the business license, insurance distribution licenses, insurance broker licenses and insurance claims adjusting licenses. The business license is a permit issued by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation that allows a company to conduct specific business within the government’s geographical jurisdiction. Insurance distribution licenses, insurance broker licenses and insurance claims adjusting licenses are issued by the National Financial Regulatory Administration or NFRA or by Hong Kong SAR Insurance Authority, allowing enterprises to engage in insurance agency, brokerage or claims adjusting services, respectively. Theses licenses are the only permissions and approvals that our PRC subsidiaries are required to obtain to conduct our business in China. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain, renew and/or convert all of the approvals, licenses, and permits required for our existing business operations upon their expiration in a timely manner or duly complete necessary registration or filings with the relevant governmental authorities for any of our new business.

 

- 2 -

 

 

The following chart sets forth a summary of the licenses and permissions obtained by the principal PRC subsidiaries and VIEs as of the date of this annual report:

 

S.N.   License/Permit   Subsidiary/VIE   Government Agency   Date of Grant   Date of Expiration
1   National Insurance Distribution License   Fanhua Insurance
Sales Service Group
Co., Ltd.
  China Banking and
Insurance Regulatory
Commission
(“CBIRC”) Guangdong
Branch
  July 15, 2022   Long-term
Validity
2   National Insurance Distribution License   Fanhua Lianxing
Insurance Sales Co.,
Ltd.
  CBIRC Sichuan Branch   May 16, 2022   Long-term
Validity
3   National Insurance Distribution License   Fanhua RONS
Insurance Sales &
Services Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Shenzhen
Branch
  September 10, 2021   Long-term
Validity
4   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Shanghai Fanhua
Guosheng Insurance
Agency Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Shanghai
Branch
  June 12, 2023   Long-term
Validity
5   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Hunan Fanhua
Insurance Agency
Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Hunan Branch   April 17, 2023   Long-term
Validity
6   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Zhejiang Fanhua
Tongchuang
Insurance Agency
Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Zhejiang
Branch
  April 24, 2022   Long-term
Validity
7   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Liaoning Fanhua
Gena Insurance
Agency Co., Ltd.
  NFRA Liaoning Branch   August 31, 2023   Long-term
Validity
8   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Jiangsu Fanhua
Lianchuang
Insurance Agency
Co., Ltd.
  NFRA Jiangsu Branch   March 14, 2024   Long-term
Validity
9   Regional Insurance Distribution License   Jilin Zhongji Shi’an
Insurance Agency
Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Jilin Branch   September 24, 2003   Long-term
Validity
10   National Insurance Broker License   Kafusi Insurance
Brokerage Co., Ltd.
  CBIRC Guangdong
Branch
  December 28, 2022   August 14, 2025
11   National Insurance Broker License   Hebei Xiong’an
Fanhua Insurance
Brokerage Co., Ltd.
  NFRA Hebei Branch   September 7, 2023   October 1, 2024
12   Insurance Claims Adjusting License   Shanghai Fanhua
Teamhead Insurance
Surveyors & Loss
Adjustors Co., Ltd.
  NFRA Shanghai Branch   N/A   Long-term
Validity
13   Insurance Claims Adjusting License   Fanhua Insurance
Surveyors & Loss
Adjustors Co., Ltd.
  NFRA Shenzhen
Branch
  N/A   Long-term
Validity
14   Insurance Broker License in Hong Kong SAR   Aasure Insurance
Broker Limited
  Hong Kong SAR
Insurance Authority
  November 30, 2021   November 29, 2024
15   Insurance Broker License in Hong Kong SAR   Minkfair Insurance
Management
Co.,Ltd.
  Hong Kong SAR
Insurance Authority
  April 27, 2020   N/A
16   Value-added Telecommunication Business Operation Permit for ICP services   Fanhua RONS
Insurance Sales &
Service Co. Ltd.
  Ministry of Industry
and Information
Technology
  August 9, 2022   August 9, 2027
17   Value-added Telecommunication Business Operation Permit for ICP services   Fanhua RONS
(Beijing) Technology
Co., Ltd.
  Ministry of Industry
and Information
Technology
  December 8, 2022   December 8, 2027

 

- 3 -

 

 

The PRC government has issued statements and regulatory actions relating to areas such as approvals on offshore offerings, anti-monopoly regulatory actions, and oversight on cybersecurity and data privacy. For example, on February 17, 2023, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the “CSRC”) released the Trial Administrative Measures of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Enterprises (the “New Overseas Listing Rules”) with five interpretive guidelines, which took effect on March 31, 2023. We may be required to make filings with the CSRC for applicable securities offerings. In connect with our pending registration statement on Form F-3, as advised by our PRC legal counsel, Hai Run Law Firm, (i) although we are required to complete the filing procedure three days after the completion of the overseas offering, no relevant PRC laws or regulations in effect require that we obtain permission from any PRC authorities to issue securities to foreign investors, and we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, sanction, or any regulatory objection to this offering from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”), the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”), or any other PRC authorities that have jurisdiction over our operations; (ii) we are not required to obtain permissions from the CSRC; (iii) we are not required to file for a cybersecurity review with the CAC; and finally (iv) we have not received or were denied such requisite permissions by any other PRC authority.

 

Nonetheless, applicable laws and regulations may be tightened, and new laws or regulations may be introduced to impose additional government approval, license, and permit requirements. If we inadvertently conclude that such permissions and approvals relating to the operations of our business are not required, fail to obtain and maintain such approvals, licenses or permits required for our business, or fail to respond to changes in the applicable laws, regulations, interpretations and regulatory environment, we could be subject to liabilities, monetary penalties and even operational disruption, which may materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, and our financial condition. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information - D. Risk Factors - Risks Relating to Doing Business in China.”

 

Implication of The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (the “HFCA Act”)

 

Our auditor, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP, is located in mainland China. Our financial statements contained in this annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 have been audited by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP, or Deloitte, an independent registered public accounting firm that is headquartered in Mainland China and is on such lists.

 

Pursuant to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which was enacted on December 18, 2020 and further amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 signed into law on December 29, 2022, or the HFCA Act, if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspections by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, for two consecutive years, the SEC shall prohibit our shares or ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States. Trading in our securities on U.S. markets, including the Nasdaq Global Select Market, will be prohibited under the HFCA Act if the PCAOB determines that it is unable to inspect or investigate completely our auditor for two consecutive years.

 

- 4 -

 

 

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued the HFCA Act Determination Report to notify the SEC of its determinations that the PCAOB was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, or the 2021 Determinations, including our auditor. On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 was signed into law, which, among others, amended the HFCA Act to reduce the number of consecutive years an issuer can be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer before the SEC must impose an initial trading prohibition on the issuer’s securities from three years to two. Therefore, once an issuer is identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for two consecutive years, the SEC is required under the HFCA Act to prohibit the trading of the issuer’s securities on a national securities exchange and in the over-the-counter market.

 

On May 26, 2022, we were conclusively identified by the Commission as a Commission-Identified Issuer under the Holding Foreign Company Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB issued a report that vacated its December 16, 2021 determination and removed mainland China and Hong Kong SAR from the list of jurisdictions where it was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms. Therefore, our auditor is currently able to be fully inspected and investigated by the PCAOB. Accordingly, until such time as the PCAOB issues any new determination, our securities are not subject to a trading prohibition under the HFCA Act.

 

Each year, the PCAOB determines whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, among other jurisdictions. If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we would be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. In accordance with the HFCA Act, our securities would be prohibited from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States if we are identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for two consecutive years in the future. There can be no assurance that we would not be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for any future fiscal year, and if we were so identified for two consecutive years, we and our investors may be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our securities to lose confidence in the audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements. If we fail to meet the new listing standards specified in the HFCA Act, we could face possible delisting from the Nasdaq, cessation of trading in the “over-the-counter” market, deregistration from the Commission and/or other risks, which may materially and adversely affect, or effectively terminate, our ADSs trading in the United States.

 

Fund Flows between Fanhua Inc., its Subsidiaries and the Consolidated VIEs

 

Under PRC law, we may provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries only through capital contributions or loans, and to the consolidated VIEs only through loans, subject to the satisfaction of applicable government registration and approval requirements. We rely on dividends and other distributions from our PRC subsidiaries to satisfy part of our liquidity requirement. Under the contractual arrangements among Fanhua Group Company, the consolidated VIEs, and the shareholders of the consolidated VIEs, Fanhua Group Company is entitled to all of the economic benefits of the consolidated VIEs and its subsidiaries in the form of service fees. For risks relating to the fund flows of our China operations, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We rely principally on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.”

 

Assets Transfer Occurred Between Fanhua Inc., its Subsidiaries and the Consolidated VIEs

 

Under the Contractual Arrangements, Fanhua Group Company and Fanlian Investment provide consultation and training services to the consolidated VIEs and are entitled to receive service fees from the consolidated VIEs in exchange. The Contractual Arrangements provide that the consolidated VIEs shall pay a quarterly fee calculated primarily based on a percentage of its revenues.

 

- 5 -

 

 

Technology consulting and service agreements were entered into between (i) Fanhua Group Company and (ii) Xinbao Investment and each of its subsidiaries on March 1, 2022 and consulting and service agreements were entered into between (i) Fanlian Investment and (ii) Fanhua RONS Technologies and each of its subsidiaries. No service fees have been incurred in 2023. The cash flows occurred between our subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs included the following: (1) cash received by the VIEs from our subsidiaries as inter-company advances amounted to RMB89.8 million, RMB43.0 million, and RMB39.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively; and (2) net commissions received by our subsidiaries from the VIEs offset by technology services paid by our subsidiaries to the VIEs amounted to RMB16.2 million, RMB94.9 million, and RMB56.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. 

 

Dividends or Distributions on Our ADSs or Ordinary Shares Made to the U.S. Investors and Their Tax Consequences

 

Our board of directors has discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to applicable laws. Although Fanhua Inc. has previously paid dividends on a quarterly basis, the amount and form of future dividends will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.”

 

In addition, subject to the passive foreign investment company rules discussed in detail under “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Taxation—Passive Foreign Investment Company”, the gross amount of any distribution that we make to investors with respect to our ADSs or ordinary shares (including any amounts withheld to reflect PRC or other withholding taxes) will be taxable as a dividend, to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, as determined under United States federal income tax principles. Furthermore, if we are considered a PRC tax resident enterprise for tax purposes, any dividends we pay to our overseas shareholders may be regarded as China-sourced income and as a result may be subject to PRC withholding tax. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Our global income or the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to PRC tax under the EIT Law, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.” For further discussion on PRC and United States federal income tax considerations of an investment in the ADSs, see “Item 10—Additional Information—E. Taxation.”

 

Restrictions on Foreign Exchange and the Ability to Transfer Cash between Entities, Across Borders and to U.S. Investors

 

Our cash dividends were paid in U.S. dollars. The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. The majority of our income is received in Renminbi and shortages in foreign currencies may restrict our ability to pay dividends or other payments, or otherwise satisfy our foreign-currency-denominated obligations, if any. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and expenditures from trade-related transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE as long as certain procedural requirements are met. Approval from appropriate government authorities is required if Renminbi is converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may, at its discretion, impose restrictions on access to foreign currencies for current account transactions and if this occurs in the future, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders.

 

Relevant PRC laws and regulations permit the PRC companies to pay dividends only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Additionally, our PRC subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs can only distribute dividends upon approval of the shareholders after they have met the PRC requirements for appropriation to the statutory reserves. As a result of these and other restrictions under the PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs are restricted to transfer a portion of their net assets to us either in the form of dividends, loans or advances. Even though we currently do not require any such dividends, loans or advances from our PRC subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs for working capital and other funding purposes, we may in the future require additional cash resources from our PRC subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs due to changes in business conditions, to fund future acquisitions and developments, or merely pay dividends to or distributions to our shareholders. 

 

- 6 -

 

 

Financial Information Related to the VIEs

 

The following tables set forth the summary consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2022 and 2023 of the Parent, our wholly-owned foreign subsidiary (“WOFEs”), or Fanhua Group Company and Fanlian Investment, that are the primary beneficiaries of the VIEs under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or U.S. GAAP (the “Primary Beneficiaries of VIEs”), our other subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs and their subsidiaries, and the summary of the consolidated statement of income and cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2023. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our and the consolidated VIEs’ historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods. You should read this information together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” included elsewhere in this annual report.

 

   As of December 31, 2023 
   Parent   Consolidated
VIEs and
their
subsidiaries
   WOFEs   Other
Subsidiaries
   Eliminating
adjustments
   Consolidated
total
 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Assets                        
Cash and cash equivalents   23,595    7,517    816    489,610        521,538 
Restricted cash       24,049        56,417        80,466 
Short term investments           2,593    925,677        928,270 
Accounts receivable, net       18,518        261,415        279,933 
Contract assets, net       9,271        1,061,658        1,070,929 
Other receivables, net   20    1,830    69,446    40,438        111,734 
Amounts due from internal companies   450,913    134,730    1,326,721    3,164,514    (5,076,878)    
Investments in subsidiaries and the VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries   3,010,729        1,555,719    64,000    (4,630,448)    
Right-of-use assets, net       3,330    15,377    117,349        136,056 
Property, plant, and equipment, net       1,995    760    88,904        91,659 
Other non-current assets   13,461    30,332    123,213    68,746        235,752 
Deferred tax assets       3,000        37,735        40,735 
Intangible assets, net       10,930        47,386        58,316 
Other assets       59,101    45    436,350        495,496 
Total assets   3,498,718    304,603    3,094,690    6,860,199    (9,707,326)   4,050,884 
Liabilities                              
Short-term loan               164,300        164,300 
Accounts payable       2,020        249,229         251,249 
Accrued commissions       2,050        554,893        556,943 
Other payables and accrued expenses   3,238    3,864    803    178,094        185,999 
Amounts due to internal companies   1,423,072    116,547    2,110,964    1,489,340    (5,139,923)    
Income tax payable       7,416    852    91,992        100,260 
Deferred tax liabilities       4,118        145,033        149,151 
Operating lease liability       3,236    17,249    107,990       128,475 
Accrued payroll   1,146    8,173    3,094    81,892        94,305 
Other liabilities       22,736    32,822    12,183        67,741 
Insurance premium payable       14,817        126        14,943 
Total liabilities   1,427,456    184,977    2,165,784    3,075,072    (5,139,923)   1,713,366 
Total net assets   2,071,262    119,626    928,906    3,785,127    (4,567,403)   2,337,518 

 

- 7 -

 

 

   As of December 31, 2022 
   Parent   Consolidated
VIEs and
their
subsidiaries
   WOFEs   Other
Subsidiaries
   Eliminating
adjustments
   Consolidated
total
 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Assets                        
Cash and cash equivalents   38,512    38,169    112,399    378,445        567,525 
Restricted cash       27,115        53,571        80,686 
Short term investments   27,619            320,135        347,754 
Accounts receivable, net       21,380        372,220        393,600 
Contract assets, net               659,788        659,788 
Other receivables, net       1,951    181,086    48,012        231,049 
Amounts due from internal companies   417,613    208,630    943,158    3,056,014    (4,625,415)    
Investment in an affiliate   4,035                    4,035 
Investments in subsidiaries and the VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries   2,520,667        1,178,977    64,000    (3,763,644)    
Right-of-use assets, net       5,273    13,074    126,739        145,086 
Property, plant, and equipment, net       2,322    1,289    94,848        98,459 
Other non-current assets                11,400        11,400 
Deferred tax assets       5,000        15,402        20,402 
Other assets       1,755    387,545    140,432        529,732 
Total assets   3,008,446    311,595    2,817,528    5,341,006    (8,389,059)   3,089,516 
Liabilities                              
Short-term loan               35,679        35,679 
Accounts payable       8,600        353,752        362,352 
Accrued commissions               267,349        267,349 
Other payables and accrued expenses   3,599    3,267    2,597    164,863        174,326 
Amounts due to internal companies   1,381,444    170,839    2,102,968    972,406    (4,627,657)    
Income tax payable       7,509    852    121,663        130,024 
Deferred tax liabilities               102,455        102,455 
Operating lease liability       4,955    14,107    117,432        136,494 
Accrued payroll       10,941    4,853    80,485        96,279 
Other tax liabilities       26,147        10,500        36,647 
Insurance premium payable       16,571        9        16,580 
Total liabilities   1,385,043    248,829    2,125,377    2,226,593    (4,627,657)   1,358,185 
Total net assets   1,623,403    62,766    692,151    3,114,413    (3,761,402)   1,731,331 

 

- 8 -

 

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2023 
   Parent   Consolidated
VIEs and
their
subsidiaries
   WOFEs   Other
subsidiaries
   Eliminating
adjustments (1)
   Consolidated
total
 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Total net revenues       168,965        3,156,708    (127,284)   3,198,389 
Third-party revenues       122,880        3,075,509        3,198,389 
Intra-Group revenues       46,085        81,199    (127,284)    
Total operating costs and expenses   (24,645)   (182,156)   (29,953)   (2,891,099)   125,289    (3,002,564)
Third-party operating costs and expenses   (24,645)   (100,956)   (29,953)   (2,847,010)       (3,002,564)
Intra-Group operating costs and expenses       (81,200)       (44,089)   125,289     
Income (loss) from operations   (24,645)   (13,191)   (29,953)   265,609    (1,995)   195,825 
Interest income, net   1,201    1,182    7,934    (4,627)       5,690 
Investment income   10,359        21,105    17,642        49,106 
Gains from fair value change of a short term investment   6,650            96,217        102,867 
Others, net       409    4,355    (8,434)       (3,670)
Share of income from subsidiaries and the VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries   285,595        194,973        (480,568)    
Share of income of affiliates, net of impairment   1,317            (2,634)       (1,317)
Income tax expenses       (1,485)       (57,917)       (59,402)
Net income   280,477    (13,085)   198,414    305,856    (482,563)   289,099 

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2022 
   Parent  

Consolidated

VIEs and
their

subsidiaries

   WOFEs  

Other

subsidiaries

  

Eliminating

adjustments (1)

  

Consolidated

total

 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Total net revenues       165,270        2,747,360    (131,016)   2,781,614 
Third-party revenues       141,086        2,640,528        2,781,614 
Intra-Group revenues       24,184        106,832    (131,016)    
Total operating costs and expenses   (11,318)   (173,131)   (36,227)   (2,523,279)   131,016    (2,612,939)
Third-party operating costs and expenses   (11,062)   (67,789)   (36,126)   (2,497,962)       (2,612,939)
Intra-Group operating costs and expenses   (256)   (105,342)   (101)   (25,317)   131,016     
Income (loss) from operations   (11,318)   (7,861)   (36,227)   224,081        168,675 
Interest income   5    388    11,606    1,675        13,674 
Investment income           6,600    11,209        17,809 
Others, net   17,495    578    (149)   (21,747)       (3,823)
Share of income from subsidiaries and the VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries   96,432        156,578        (253,010)    
Share of income of affiliates, net of impairment   (2,342)           (67,254)       (69,596)
Income tax expenses       2,759    (2,906)   (40,869)       (41,016)
Net income   100,272    (4,136)   135,502    107,095    (253,010)   85,723 

 

Note:

 

(1) The elimination mainly represents (i) the intercompany service fee related to agency services for distributing life insurance products and non-life insurance products on behalf of insurance companies provide by consolidated affiliated entities to subsidiaries and (ii) the intercompany service fee related to technology services provided by our consolidated variable interest entities to our subsidiaries.

 

- 9 -

 

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2021 
   Parent   Consolidated
VIE and its
subsidiaries
   WOFEs   Other
subsidiaries
   Eliminating
adjustments (1)
   Consolidated
total
 
   (RMB in thousands)     
Total net revenues       16,267        3,268,763    (13,916)   3,271,114 
Third-party revenues       16,267        3,254,847        3,271,114 
Intra-Group revenues               13,916    (13,916)    
Total operating costs and expenses   (331)   (15,730)   (37,677)   (2,929,387)   13,916    (2,969,209)
Third-party operating costs and expenses   (331)   (1,814)   (37,677)   (2,929,387)       (2,969,209)
Intra-Group operating costs and expenses       (13,916)           13,916     
Income (loss) from operations   (331)   537    (37,677)   339,376        301,905 
Interest income   2    60    374    2,535        2,971 
Investment income           21,767    11,131        32,898 
Others, net       90    12,014    21,210        33,314 
Share of income from subsidiaries and the VIE and VIE’s subsidiaries   254,526        300,599        (555,125)    
Share of loss of affiliates   (3,208)           (17,365)       (20,573)
Income tax expenses       (172)   1,760    (92,162)       (90,574)
Net income   250,989    515    298,837    264,725    (555,125)   259,941 

 

Note:

 

(1) The elimination mainly represents the intercompany service fee related to agency services for distributing life insurance products and P&C insurance products on behalf of insurance companies provide by consolidated affiliated entities to subsidiaries.

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2023 
   Parent  

Consolidated

VIEs and
their

subsidiaries

   WOFEs  

Other

subsidiaries

  

Eliminating

adjustments

  

Consolidated

total

 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Cash flows from operating activities:   (36,520)   (52,983)   6,620    184,670        101,787 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with external parties   (36,520)   3,754    6,620    127,933        101,787 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with internal companies       (56,737)       56,737         
Cash flows from investing activities:   20,092    (20,095)   384,002    (177,970)   (451,849)   (245,820)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with external parties   30,097    (20,095)   384,002    (639,824)       (245,820)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies   (10,005)           461,854    (451,849)    
Cash flows from financing activities:   (29,044)   39,359    (502,207)   137,731    451,849    97,688 
Net cash used in transactions with external parties   (29,044)           126,732        97,688 
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies       39,359    (502,207)   10,999    451,849     

 

- 10 -

 

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2022 
   Parent  

Consolidated

VIEs and
their

subsidiaries

   WOFEs  

Other

subsidiaries

  

Eliminating

adjustments

  

Consolidated

total

 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Cash flows from operating activities:   7,339    3,822    (12,794)   139,385        137,752 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with external parties   7,339    98,715    (12,794)   44,492        137,752 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with internal companies       (94,893)       94,893         
Cash flows from investing activities:   227,321    (16,214)   (34,333)   (1,006,158)   701,822    (127,562)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with external parties   917,101    (16,214)   (34,333)   (994,116)       (127,562)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies   (689,780)           (12,042)   701,822     
Cash flows from financing activities:   (321,712)   43,032    (52,476)   1,012,607    (701,822)   (20,371)
Net cash used in transactions with external parties   (321,712)           301,341        (20,371)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies       43,032    (52,476)   711,266    (701,822)    

 

   For the year ended December 31, 2021 
   Parent   Consolidated
VIE and its
subsidiaries
   WOFEs   Other
subsidiaries
   Eliminating
adjustments
   Consolidated
total
 
   (RMB in thousands) 
Cash flows from operating activities:   (784)   32,674    (7,013)   101,321        126,198 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with external parties   (784)   48,923    (7,013)   85,072        126,198 
Net cash (used in) provided by transactions with internal companies       (16,249)       16,249         
Cash flows from investing activities:   201,339    (73,430)   (283,323)   261,650    344,163    450,399 
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with external parties   43,757        (283,323)   689,965        450,399 
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies   157,582    (73,430)       (428,315)   344,163     
Cash flows from financing activities:   (242,518)       501,745    (175,362)   (344,163)   (260,298)
Net cash used in transactions with external parties   (242,518)           (17,780)       (260,298)
Net cash provided by (used in) transactions with internal companies           501,745    (157,582)   (344,163)    

 

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Filing Procedures Required from the PRC Authorities for Offering Securities to Foreign Investors

 

Under applicable laws of mainland China, we and our mainland China subsidiaries may be required to complete certain filing procedures with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, in connection with future offering and listing in an overseas market, including our follow-on offerings, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after going-private transactions, and other equivalent offering activities. If we fail to complete such filing procedures for any future offshore offering or listing, including our follow-on offerings, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after going-private transactions, and other equivalent offering activities, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other mainland China regulatory authorities, which may include fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, limitations on our operating privileges in mainland China, restrictions on or delays to our future financing transactions offshore, or other actions that could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs. In addition, we are required to file a report to the CSRC after the occurrence and public disclosure of certain material corporate events, including but not limited to, change of control and voluntary or mandatory delisting. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The approval of and filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings, capital raising activities and acquisitions or other trading arrangements of domestic enterprises conducted by China-based issuers, and also may be required to go through cybersecurity review under the new laws and the draft laws and regulations of mainland China, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other regulatory procedures.”

 

Summary of Risk Factors

 

Investing in the ADSs involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and other information contained in this annual report on Form 20-F, before you decide whether to purchase the ADSs. Below please find a summary of the principal risks and uncertainties we face, organized under relevant headings:

 

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

We may not be successful in implementing our new strategic initiatives, which may have an adverse impact on our business and financial results;

 

If and when our contracts with insurance companies are suspended or changed, our business and operating results will be materially and adversely affected;

 

  If we fail to attract and retain productive agents, especially entrepreneurial agents, and qualified claims adjustors, our business and operating results could be materially and adversely affected;
     
  If our digitalization initiatives are not successful, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected;
     
  Regulations on online insurance distribution are evolving rapidly. If we are unable to adapt to regulatory changes and keep compliant, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected;
     
  All of our personnel engaging in insurance agency, or claims adjusting activities are required under relevant PRC regulations to register with the NFRA’s Insurance Intermediaries Regulatory Information System. If our sales personnel fail to finish practice registration, our business may be materially and adversely affected;

  

  Material changes in the regulatory environment could change the competitive landscape of our industry or require us to change the way we do business. The administration, interpretation and enforcement of the laws and regulations currently applicable to us could change rapidly. If we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, we may be subject to civil and criminal penalties or lose the ability to conduct our business;
     
  Our business could be negatively impacted if we are unable to adapt our services to regulatory changes in China;

 

  We may be unsuccessful in identifying suitable acquisition candidates, completing acquisitions, integrating acquired companies or the acquired companies may not perform to our expectations, which could adversely affect our growth;
     
  Competition in our industry is intense and, if we are unable to compete effectively with both existing and new market participants, we may lose customers, and our financial results may be negatively affected; and

 

  Because the commission and fee we earn on the sale of insurance products is based on premiums, commission and fee rates set by insurance companies, any decrease in these premiums, commission or fee rates may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

 

  Fanhua Inc. is a Cayman Islands holding company primarily operating in China through its subsidiaries and contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies. Investors in the ADSs thus are not purchasing, and may never directly hold, all equity interests in the consolidated VIEs. There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations, and rules relating to such agreements that establish the VIE structure for the majority of our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations in China, including potential future actions by the PRC government, which could affect the enforceability of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and, consequently, significantly affect the financial condition and results of operations of Fanhua Inc. If the PRC government finds such agreements non-compliant with relevant PRC laws, regulations, and rules, or if these laws, regulations, and rules or the interpretation thereof change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies or forfeit our rights under the contractual arrangements;

 

 

The PRC government has significant authority to exert influence on the China operations of an offshore holding company, such as us. Therefore, investors in the ADSs and the business of us and the consolidated VIEs face potential uncertainty from the PRC government’s policy. Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions, or government policies could materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIE’s business, financial condition, and results of operations;

     
  We and the consolidated VIEs are subject to extensive and evolving legal development, non-compliance with which, or changes in which, may materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business and prospects, and may result in a material change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations and/or the value of our ADSs or could significantly limit or completely hinder our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or be worthless;
     
  It is unclear whether we and the consolidated VIEs will be subject to the oversight of the Cyberspace Administration of China and how such oversight may impact us. Our and the consolidated VIEs’ business could be interrupted or we and the consolidated VIEs could be subject to liabilities which may materially and adversely affect the results of our and the consolidated VIEs’ operation and the value of your investment;
     
  The PRC government’s oversight over our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations could result in a material adverse change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations and the value of our ADSs;
     
  Any failure by the VIEs or their respective shareholders to perform their obligations under our Contractual Arrangements with them would have an adverse effect on our business; and
     
  We rely on contractual arrangements to conduct a small part of our China operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

 

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

 

 

The approval of and filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings, capital raising activities and acquisitions or other trading arrangements of domestic enterprises conducted by China-based issuers, we must file with the CSRC within three business days after the issuance, and also may be required to go through cybersecurity review under the new laws and the draft laws and regulations of mainland China, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other regulatory procedures;

 

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  Uncertainties in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our ADSs, cause significant disruption to our and the consolidated VIE’s business operations, and severely damage our and the consolidated VIEs’ reputation, which would materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ financial condition and results of operations and cause our ADSs to significantly decline in value or become worthless. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice, therefore, our assertions and beliefs of the risks imposed by the Chinese legal and regulatory system cannot be certain;
     
  A downturn in the Chinese or global economy could have a material adverse effect on our business;
     
  Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment;
     
  The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law may increase the enterprise income tax rate applicable to some of our PRC subsidiaries, which could have a material adverse effect on our result of operations;

 

  Our global income or the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to PRC tax under the EIT Law, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations;
     
  We rely principally on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business; and
     
  PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents and employee stock options granted by overseas-listed companies may increase our administrative burden, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activity, or otherwise adversely affect us. If our shareholders who are PRC residents, or our PRC employees who are granted or exercise stock options, fail to make any required registrations or filings under such regulations, we may be unable to distribute profits and may become subject to liability under PRC laws. We may also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional equity compensation plans for our directors and employees and other parties under PRC law.

 

Risks Related to Our ADSs 

 

  If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, we and our investors may be deprived with the benefits of such inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in the ADSs to lose confidence in the audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements;
     
  Our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the HFCA Act in the future if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely auditors located in China. The delisting of the ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment;
     
  The trade price of our ADSs may be volatile;
     
  We may need additional capital, and the sale of additional ADSs or other equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders; and
     
  Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ordinary shares, ADSs or other equity securities in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

 

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  A. [Reserved]

 

  B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not Applicable.

 

  C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not Applicable. 

  

  D. Risk Factors

  

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

 

We may not be successful in implementing our new strategic initiatives, which may have an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

 

In late 2020, we launched new strategic initiatives with focus on (i) building a career-based and professional insurance advisor team with profound insurance knowledge and capabilities to provide family financial asset allocation services to the emerging middle-class and mass-affluent individuals and families and empowering all independent agents and agencies in China to become more efficient and professionalized; (ii) developing digital toolkits and enhancing digital operation capabilities to empower independent agents and increase agent productivity and (iii) offering an open platform to all independent agents and agencies whereby they can have access to compliance support, industry leading IT infrastructure, digital technologies, better products and service offerings, and the library of resources and knowhow to improve their training and skillsets to strengthen their competitiveness in the market. There is no assurance that we will be able to implement these strategic initiatives in accordance with our expectations, which may result in an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

 

If and when our contracts with insurance companies are suspended or changed, our business and operating results will be materially and adversely affected.

 

We primarily act as agents for insurance companies in distributing their products to retail customers. We also provide claims adjusting services principally to insurance companies. Our relationships with the insurance companies are governed by agreements between us and the insurance companies. We have entered into strategic partnership agreements with most of our major insurance company partners for the distribution of life, property and casualty insurance products and the provision of claims adjusting services at the corporate headquarters level. While this approach allows us to obtain more favorable terms from insurance companies by combining the sales volumes and service fees of all of our subsidiaries and branches operating insurance agency and claims adjusting businesses, it also means that the termination of a major contract could have a material adverse effect on our business. Under the framework of the headquarter-to-headquarter agreements, our subsidiaries and branches operating insurance agency and claims adjusting businesses generally also enter into contracts at a local level with the respective provincial, city and district branches of the insurance companies. Generally, each branch of these insurance companies has independent authority to enter into contracts with our relevant subsidiaries and branches, and the termination of a contract with one branch has no significant effect on our contracts with the other branches. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Insurance Company Partners.” These contracts establish, among other things, the scope of our authority, the pricing of the insurance products we distribute and our fee rates. These contracts typically have a term of one year, and certain contracts can be terminated by the insurance companies with little advance notice. Moreover, before or upon expiration of a contract, the insurance company that is a party to that contract may agree to renew it only with changes in material terms, including the amount of commissions and fees we receive, which could reduce our revenues to be generated from that contract.

 

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For the year ended December 31, 2023, our top five insurance company partners were Sinatay Life Insurance Co., Ltd., or Sinatay, Aeon Life Insurance Co., Ltd., or Aeon, Li An Life Insurance Co., Ltd., or Li An, Huaxia Life Insurance Co., Ltd., or Huaxia,and Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Company of China, or Ping An by net revenues. Among these top five partners, each of Sinatay and Aeon accounted for more than 10% of our total net revenues individually in 2023, with Sinatay accounting for 15.3%, Aeon accounting for 10.3%, Lian accounting for 7.5%, Huaxia accounting for 6.1%, and Ping An accounting for 6.0%, respectively.

 

If we fail to attract and retain productive agents, especially entrepreneurial agents, and qualified claims adjustors, our business and operating results could be materially and adversely affected.

 

A substantial portion of our sales of insurance products are conducted through our individual sales agents. Some of these sales agents are significantly more productive than others in generating sales. In recent years, some entrepreneurial management staff or senior sales agents of major insurance companies in China have chosen to leave their employers or principals and become independent agents. We refer to these individuals as entrepreneurial agents. An entrepreneurial agent is usually able to assemble and lead a team of sales agents. We have been actively recruiting and will continue to recruit entrepreneurial agents to join our distribution and service network as our sales agents. Entrepreneurial agents have been instrumental to the development of our life insurance business. In addition, we rely primarily on our in-house claims adjustors to provide claims adjusting services. Because claims adjustment requires technical skills, the technical competence of claims adjustors is essential to establishing and maintaining our brand image and relationships with our customers.

 

As of December 31, 2023, we had 87,851 registered sales agents and 2,303 claims adjustors. Out of the registered sales agents, 45,358 were performing agents, who are defined as sales agents that have sold at least one insurance policy in 2023, and among these performing agents, 15,726 of them sold at least one regular life insurance policy in 2023. If we are unable to attract and retain the core group of highly productive sales agents, particularly entrepreneurial agents, and qualified claims adjustors, our business could be materially and adversely affected. Competition for sales personnel and claims adjustors from insurance companies and other insurance intermediaries may also force us to increase the compensation of our sales agents, and claims adjustors, which would increase operating costs and reduce our profitability.

 

If our digitalization initiatives are not successful, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

We have devoted significant efforts to developing and managing our online platforms and developing digital technologies to empower our business operations. In 2012, we launched Baowang (“保网”) (www.baoxian.com), an online insurance distribution platform operated through its application, WeChat public account and mini program], which aggregates more than 300 insurance products in partnership with over 30 insurers. Its insurance products cover from accident insurance, indemnity medical insurance, travel insurance, homeowner insurance, and a limited number of internet-specific long term regular life insurance products. In August 2014, we unveiled eHuzhu (“e互助”) (www.ehuzhu.com), an online mutual aid platform that provides risk-protection programs on a mutual commitment basis among program members. In September 2017, we launched FA APP, (formerly known as “Lan Zhanggui” (‘懒掌柜’), a mobile application and WeChat mini program, which provides end-to-end sales support services to our sales agents. In 2020, we announced an initiative to empower our operation by utilizing digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data to gain more customer insight, match sales leads with the most suitable sales agents to maximize their productivity and help customers find the products that suit their different needs throughout different stages of their lives. We have launched several digital toolkits including Fanhua RONS Assistant Digital Operating Platform(“泛华榕数助理”), or RONS DOP to empower our agents in online customer engagement, and Fanhua RONS Guanjia (“泛华榕数管家”), a comprehensive digital customer service platform. See detailed description about our online platforms and digital toolkits in “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview”. The success of our strategies may depend on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including but not limited to:

 

  the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns to build brand recognition among consumers and our ability to attract and retain customers;

 

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  the acceptance of third-party e-commerce platforms as an effective channel for underwriters to distribute their insurance products;

 

  the acceptance of FA App, RONS DOP, Fanhua RONS Guanjia as effective tools by sales agents;

 

  public concerns over security of e-commerce transactions, privacy and confidentiality of information;

 

  increased competition from insurance companies which directly sell insurance products through their own websites, call centers, portal websites which provide insurance product information and links to insurance companies’ websites, and other professional insurance intermediary companies which may launch independent websites in the future;

 

  increased competition from third-party insurance technology companies;

 

  further improvement in our information technology system designed to facilitate smoother online transactions; and

 

  further development and changes in applicable rules and regulations which may increase our operating costs and expenses, impede the execution of our business plan or change the competitive landscape.

 

Our digitalization efforts may not be successful or yield the benefits that we anticipate. As a result, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Regulations on online insurance distribution are evolving rapidly. If we are unable to adapt to regulatory changes and keep compliant, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Since online insurance distribution has emerged only recently in China and is evolving rapidly, the National Financial Regulatory Administration or the NFRA, which has replaced the CBIRC to become the regulatory body overseeing China’s banking and insurance markets in May 2023, may promulgate and implement new rules and regulations to govern this sector from time to time. On December 7, 2020, the NFRA’s predecessor, the CBIRC promulgated the Measures for the Supervision of the Internet Insurance Business, or the Measures, which became effective on February 1, 2021 and replaces the Interim Measures for the Regulation of Internet Insurance Business. The Measures provides clarity on the qualifications for entities to operate online insurance business in China and sets higher requirements on entities which intend to engage in online insurance business. For example, the Measures in effect requires that any insurance institution which conducts internet business through its self-operated online platform to directly own the domain name instead of through its subsidiary, both the insurance institution and its self-operated online platform shall make Internet Content Provider (“ICP”) filing and the insurance institutions engaged in online insurance business shall have IT systems that are certified as at least Safety Level III Computer Information Systems. We operate our online insurance distribution business through Baowang (www.baoxian.com), which accounted for 4.0% of our total net revenues in 2023. Shenzhen Baowang previously owned the domain name of Baowang and held a Value-added Telecommunication Business Operation Permit for ICP services, or ICP license. To remain compliant with the requirements of the Measures, in September 2020, Shenzhen Baowang transferred the domain name of www.baoxian.com to its direct parent company Fanhua RONS which holds a national insurance service operating license. Fanhua RONS has obtained an ICP license in August 2022. Baowang’s system has been certified as Safety Level III Computer Information System for three consecutive years. As advised by our PRC legal counsel , we have obtained the necessary approvals and licenses, and our operations meet the qualification requirements of the Measures.

 

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In addition, we provide our insurance information and transaction processing services through mobile apps and mini programs such as “FA App”, “Baowang”, RONS DOP” and Fanhua RONS Guanjia. According to the Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services (the “App Provisions”) issued by the CAC on June 28, 2016, which was most recently amended on June 14, 2022, and became effective on August 1, 2022, except for providing internet news information service, any owner or operator providing other internet information services through a mobile internet application, or an “app,” must obtain the relevant qualification(s) as required by the relevant laws and regulations. The App Provisions, however, do not further clarify the scope of “information services,” nor do they specify what “relevant qualification(s)” that a mobile app owner or operator must obtain. In practice, operational activities of a company conducted through an app are subject to the supervision of the local counterparts of the Information Communications Administration, which has different polices on the operational activities conducted through websites and those through mobile apps. In many cases, companies providing information services through standalone mobile apps without any web-based online services are not required to obtain ICP licenses. However, the interpretation and enforcement of such laws and regulations are subject to substantial discretion of the local authorities. We cannot rule out the possibility that the local counterparts of the Information Communications Administration would take the view that our current information services and transaction processing services provided through mobile apps would require an ICP license or that, without such license, we would be prohibited from rendering such services.

 

If we are unable to adapt to any new changes to the regulation governing online insurance business and remain fully compliant, the business operation of Baowang and our mobile applications and mini programs could be suspended, which may adversely impact our business results of operation.

 

There are uncertainties with regard to how the changing laws, regulations and regulatory requirements would apply to our business. We cannot assure you that our operations will remain fully compliant with the changes in and further development of regulations applicable to us or we will be able to obtain the necessary approvals and licenses as required in a timely manner.

 

Any failure to successfully identify the risks as part of our expansion into the online and mobile insurance distribution business may have a material adverse impact on our growth, business prospects and results of operations, which could lead to a decline in the price of our ADSs.

 

All of our personnel engaging in insurance agency, or claims adjusting activities are required under relevant PRC regulations to register with the NFRA’s Insurance Intermediaries Regulatory Information System. If our sales personnel fail to finish practice registration, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

All of our personnel who engage in insurance agency and claims adjusting activities are required under relevant PRC regulations to be registered with the NFRA’s Insurance Intermediary Regulatory Information System, or the IIRIS, through the insurance company or insurance intermediary company to which he or she belongs. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation.” In addition, under the relevant PRC regulations, such as the Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Agents issued on November 12, 2020 and Provisions on the Supervision of Insurance Claims Adjusting Firms issued by the CBIRC in February 2018, an insurance agency or claims adjusting firm that retains a personnel who has not been registered with the IIRIS through the insurance agency or claims adjusting firm to engage in insurance intermediary activities may be subject to rectification request, warning and fines up to RMB30,000 per intermediary by the NFRA. If a substantial portion of our sales force were found to have not been properly registered with the IIRIS, our business may be adversely affected. Moreover, we may be subject to fines and other administrative proceedings for the failure by our sales agents or sales representatives to register with the NFRA. Such fines or administrative proceedings could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Material changes in the regulatory environment could change the competitive landscape of our industry or require us to change the way we do business. The administration, interpretation and enforcement of the laws and regulations currently applicable to us could change rapidly. If we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, we may be subject to civil and criminal penalties or lose the ability to conduct our business.

 

We operate in a highly regulated industry. The laws and regulations applicable to us are evolving and may change rapidly, which could change the competitive environment of our industry significantly and cause us to lose some or all of our competitive advantages. In recent years, the NFRA and its predecessor have increasingly tightened regulations and supervision of the Chinese insurance market. For example, in March 2023, the CBIRC issued a Notice to Self-check and Rectify Irregularities in Internet-based Marketing and Publicity by Insurance Institutions and Insurance Sales Personnel, requiring all insurance institutions and sales personnel to self-check and rectify irregular marketing activities on the internet starting from April 3, 2023. Insurance institutions are required to complete the rectification by June 15, 2023 and report the results to the CBIRC by June 30, 2023. Although we believe we have not had any material violations to date, we could be required to spend significant time and resources in complying with the requirement and the attention of our management team and key employees could be diverted to these efforts, which may adversely affect our business operations. 

 

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The NFRA has extensive authority to supervise and regulate the insurance industry in China. In exercising its authority, the NFRA is given wide discretion, and the administration, interpretation and enforcement of the laws and regulations applicable to us involve uncertainties that could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. The People’s Bank of China and other government agencies may promulgate new rules governing online financial services. In July 2015, ten government agencies including the People’s Bank of China, the Ministry of Finance and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission or the CIRC, the predecessor of the NFRA, promulgated a guidance letter on how to promote the healthy growth of internet financial services, which set forth the principles of supervision based on the rule of law, the appropriate level of regulation, proper categorization, cooperation among different government agencies and promoting innovation. Not only may the laws and regulations applicable to us change rapidly, but it may also sometimes be unclear how they apply to our business. For example, the laws and regulations applicable to our online and mobile platforms may be unclear. Our products or services may be determined or alleged to be in violation of the applicable laws and regulations. Any failure of our products or services to comply with these laws and regulations could result in substantial civil or criminal liability, adversely affect demand for our services, invalidate all or a portion of our customer contracts, require us to change or terminate some of our businesses, require us to refund a portion of our services fees, or cause us to be disqualified from serving customers, and therefore could have a material and adverse effect on our business.

 

Although we have not had any material violations to date, we cannot assure you that our operations will always comply with the interpretation and enforcement of the laws and regulations implemented by the NFRA. Any determination by a provincial or national government authority that our activities or those of our vendors or customers violate any of these laws could subject us to civil or criminal penalties, require us to change or terminate some of our operations or business, or disqualify us from providing services to insurance companies or other customers; and, thus have a materially adverse effect on our business.

 

Our business could be negatively impacted if we are unable to adapt our services to regulatory changes in China.

 

China’s insurance regulatory regime is undergoing significant changes. Some of these changes and the further development of regulations applicable to us may result in additional restrictions on our activities or more intensive competition in this industry, which may adversely affect our business operations.

 

For example, on November 5, 2020, China Insurance Industry Association and China Medical Doctor Association jointly published Definition Framework 2020, announcing changes to the definition of critical illnesses, or CI, which will be adopted after a transition period ending January 31, 2021. After January 31, 2021, all critical illness products based on the previous definition framework will not be sold in China. Major changes to the CI definition framework include, among others, (i) setting the upper limit for insurance benefits for mild illness at no more than 30% of total insured amount; (ii) expanding the types of illnesses covered from 25 types to 28 types of critical illnesses and three types of mild illness; (iii) exclusion of cancer that is in situ from the scope of CI coverage; and (iv) categorizing thyroid cancer at different stages into critical illness category and mild illness category. The expected cessation of the critical illness products under the previous CI definition framework has resulted in strong growth in our sales of critical illness policies in January 2021 followed by a drop afterwards.

 

 On October 12, 2021, the CBIRC, the predecessor of the NFRA, promulgated the Notice on Further Regulation of Matters Relating to the Internet Life Insurance Business of Insurance Institutions, which, among others, raised the qualification requirements for insurance companies and insurance intermediaries to engage in Internet life insurance business nationwide, limited products that could be sold on the Internet nationwide to accident, health, term life, 10-year (or longer) traditional life, and 10-year (or longer) annuities and capped the preset expense ratio to be no higher than 35% for one-year life insurance and first year preset expense ratio no higher than 60% with average expense ratio no higher than 25% for over-one-year life insurance. Incumbent companies have until the end of 2021 to comply with the new regulations. Subsequently, many insurance companies which could not meet the qualification requirements have stopped selling life insurance products online before January 1, 2022. As our online insurance business operated through Baowang is subject to this regulation, the disruption in internet life insurance product supply and the cap on expense ratio have adversely impacted and may continue to impact Baowang which contributed to 5.0% of our total net revenues in 2022. 

 

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Any future change in regulatory requirements may make our products less attractive to consumers or disrupt product supply, and our business results of operations could fluctuate significantly and be adversely affected.

 

On July 10, 2017, the CIRC promulgated the Interim Measures on Retrospective Management of Insurance Sales Behaviors, effective November 1, 2017 which required (1) ancillary insurance agencies to take video and audio-recording, or double-recording for the sales of all insurance products that they facilitate and (2) other insurance distribution channels to take double-recording for the sales of investment-linked insurance products and for the sale of life insurance products with a payment period of more than one year to the elderly of over 60 years old. On June 11, 2019, the Jiangsu Branch of the CBIRC published the Notice on Deepening the Implementation of the Retrospective Management of Personal Insurance Sales Behaviors or the Notice, requiring all insurance companies and insurance intermediary companies to start double-recording process for the sales of all long-term personal insurance products in Jiangsu Province starting from October 1, 2019. Similar rules have also been implemented in a few other regions, including Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, certain parts of Shandong since mid-2020 and Shanghai since early 2020. In June 2021, the CBIRC promulgated the Measures on Retrospective Management of Insurance Sales Behaviors for public consultation which requires that retrospective management must be conducted for face-to-face sales by sales agents of all life insurance products with a payment period of over one-year or less than one-year but with renewal obligation, and that insurance institutions must establish sound insurance sales retrospective management working mechanism and designated retrospective management information system. Retrospective management specially refers to the recording and preservation of the key insurance sales processes and sales behaviors by means of double recording, sales page management and operation tracking record to ensure future replay of the sales behaviors, search of important information and accountability of insurance institutions.

 

As a significant portion of our insurance products are personal life insurance products with a payment period of over one year and are distributed through our individual sales agents, the sales processes of our sales agents to customers are subject to double recording requirements. As the double recording process can be complicated and time-consuming, our sales activities in those regions that have previously implemented such rules have been adversely impacted. If similar rules are implemented nationwide, our sales activities can be materially impacted, and our compliance cost may be increased, as a result of which our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

On January 12, 2021, the CBIRC promulgated Measures on The Supervision of Informatization of Insurance Intermediary Institutions, or the Informatization Measures, requiring insurance intermediary institutions to establish proper information system and provide specific requirements on the security system, security level protection certification, data security, personal information protection, terminal security and training.  Insurance intermediary companies must comply with the Information Security Measures to engage in insurance intermediary business. Insurance intermediaries should conduct self-examination of informatization work in accordance with the Informatization Measures, and complete rectification within one year from the date of implementation of the Informatization Measures. We have completed self-examination and rectification and believe we have met the requirements of the Informatization Measures. However, if more stringent requirements are implemented in the future, our compliance cost may increase which may adversely impact our operation results.

 

On September 29, 2023, the National Financial Regulatory Administration, or the NFRA, promulgated Measures for the Supervision of Insurance Sales Behavior, effective on March 1, 2024, which provides for a comprehensive management on the pre-sale, mid-sale and after-sale behaviors of insurance distribution of insurance companies, insurance intermediaries and insurance salespeople, with requirements focusing on, among others, (i) establishment of a tiered management mechanism for insurance sales practitioners based on their qualifications, sales abilities, integrity and ethics level; (ii) classification of life insurance products by product types, complexity, risk level and affordability ; (iii) pre-sales product suitability assessment on the policyholders; (iv) restrictions on the pre-sales promotion of insurance, including the requirement for insurance institutions to conduct pre-approval and authorization for the dissemination of insurance sales promotional information by insurance sales practitioners; (v) restriction on compulsory bundled-sales of insurance products with healthcare and elderly-care services; and (vi) retrospective management of insurance sales process which requires that retrospective management must be conducted for insurance product sales activities through methods such as audio recording, video recording, sales page management, and recording operational traces, depending on the sales method according to the specific requirements of relevant rules. Backup archiving should be conducted for the audio-visual and electronic data generated during the retrospective management process. The implementation of such requirements may significantly increase our compliance cost and failure to comply with the requirements may result in penalties and damage our reputations which may adversely affect our financial results.

 

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On August 22, 2023, the NFRA issued the Notice of Regulating the Insurance Products Sold Through Bancassurance Channel to life insurance companies in China, which required that, among others, actual expenses such as commissions paid to bancassurance channel’ agents should be consistent with cost structure and commission ceiling reported in the filed documents. On October 9, 2023, the NFRA issued the Notice on Matters Related to the Management of Bancassurance Products, stating the discrepancy in the predetermined additional fee rate for some companies’ registered bancassurance products and the total fee of the bancassurance channels as subsequently separately reported and that it will determine the total fee for the bancassurance channels based on the principle of the lower of the two. If insurance companies exceed this lower threshold in their actual implementation, they will be subject to strict legal and regulatory actions. On January 14, 2024, the NFRA issued the Notice on Regulating the Bancassurance Channel Business of Life Insurance Companies, further regulating the bancassurance channel business of life insurance companies, and urging insurance companies to strictly comply with the registered insurance terms and insurance fee rates, and that the commissions paid by insurance companies to bancassurance channels shall not exceed the upper limit of the commission rate as filed. The strict implementation of these rules has since resulted in significant drop in commission rates in the bancassurance channel. On October 18, 2023, the NFAR issued the Notice of Strengthening Management to Promote the Stable and Healthy Development of Life Insurance Business, emphasizing the requirement of consistency in filed and actually-paid expenses. If NFRA were to issue implementation rules and strictly enforce such requirement in the independent agency and broker channel nationwide, there would be significant drop in our commission income and revenues and adversely affect our overall financial results.

 

On November 20, 2023, the China Insurance Industry Association issued a discussion draft Personal Insurance Agent Sales Capabilities Qualification Standard (For Life Insurance Sales), which discusses a future classification system for insurance agents in China. Key points include: (i) prospective insurance agents must undergo examinations and training before becoming licensed; (ii) insurance agent qualifications are divided into four levels: junior, intermediate, senior, and special. Each level corresponds to different categories of insurance products that agents can sell. For instance, junior agents can only sell simple products, while more complex products like dividend insurance or investment-linked insurance require intermediate or senior qualifications. Special agents may sell wealth management products; (iii) advancement to higher levels of agent qualification requires passing higher-level exams, accumulating relevant work experience, and maintaining a clean professional record without violations or misconduct for a specified period; (iv) individuals with higher education qualifications may receive exemptions from certain work experience requirements, with greater exemptions granted for higher levels of education; (v) obtaining nationally recognized professional titles in economics and finance during the promotion process may also result in exemptions from work experience requirements. If such requirement were implemented, competition for skilled agents could intensify, leading to increased recruitment costs and we may need to invest in additional training and support to help agents meet these requirements and maintain sales performance.

 

Our mutual-aid platform eHuzhu currently is not subject to any license requirement or any other supervision by the CBIRC because the mutual aid plans offered on the platform are not technically insurance. If the CBIRC determines to include mutual aid platform into its supervision in the future, our compliance cost could be increased, and if we are unable to meet the qualification requirement to obtain a proper license, the operation of eHuzhu could be disrupted. In 2021, a few internet giant-backed mutual aid platforms voluntarily chose to shut down operations. As of the date of this filing, eHuzhu hasn’t received any requirement from the CBIRC or other regulatory authority to terminate operations. If the CBIRC determines eHuzhu’s operation is not compliant with current regulations, eHuzhu would be required to terminate its operation, which could harm the interests of the members of eHuzhu and damage our reputation. 

 

 We may be unsuccessful in identifying suitable acquisition candidates, completing acquisitions, integrating acquired companies or the acquired companies may not perform to our expectations, which could adversely affect our growth.

 

Our growth strategy includes selective acquisition. We expect a substantial portion of our future growth to come from acquisitions of high-quality assets that are complementary to our existing business or can accelerate our intelligence development and further broaden our service offerings. There is no assurance that we can successfully identify suitable acquisition candidates. Even if we identify suitable candidates, we may not be able to complete an acquisition on terms that are commercially acceptable to us. In addition, we compete with other entities to acquire high-quality independent insurance intermediaries. Many of our competitors may have substantially greater financial resources than we do and may be able to outbid us for these acquisition targets. If we are unable to complete acquisitions, our growth strategy may be impeded and our earnings or revenue growth may be negatively affected.

 

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Even if we succeed in acquiring other insurance intermediaries, our ability to integrate an acquired entity and its operations is subject to a number of factors. These factors include difficulties in the integration of acquired operations and retention of personnel, especially the sales agents who are not employees of the acquired company, entry into unfamiliar markets, unanticipated problems or legal liabilities, and tax and accounting issues. The need to address these factors may divert management’s attention from other aspects of our business and materially and adversely affect our business prospects. In addition, costs associated with integrating newly acquired companies could negatively affect our operating margins.

 

Furthermore, the acquired companies may not perform to our expectations for various reasons, including legislative or regulatory changes that affect the insurance products in which a company specializes, the loss of key clients after the acquisition closes, general economic factors that impact a company in a direct way and the cultural incompatibility of an acquired company’s management team with us. If an acquired company cannot be operated at the same profitability level as our existing operations, the acquisition would have a negative impact on our operating margin. Our inability to successfully integrate an acquired entity or its failure to perform to our expectations may materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

 

 Competition in our industry is intense and, if we are unable to compete effectively with both existing and new market participants, we may lose customers, and our financial results may be negatively affected.

 

The insurance intermediary industry in China is highly fragmented and competitive, and we expect competition to persist and intensify as more internet giants and other online insurance intermediaries and foreign-invested insurance intermediary companies enter the market. In insurance product distribution, we face competition from insurance companies that use their in-house sales force, exclusive sales agents, telemarketing and internet channels to distribute their products, from business entities that distribute insurance products on an ancillary basis, such as commercial banks, postal offices and automobile dealerships, as well as from other traditional or online insurance intermediaries. In our claims adjusting business, we primarily compete with other independent claims adjusting firms. We compete for customers on the basis of product offerings, customer services and reputation. Many of our competitors, both existing and newly emerging, have greater financial and marketing resources than we do and may be able to offer products and services that we do not currently offer and may not offer in the future. If we are unable to compete effectively against those competitors, we may lose customers, and our financial results may be negatively affected.

  

Because the commission and fee we earn on the sale of insurance products is based on premiums, commission and fee rates set by insurance companies, any decrease in these premiums, commission or fee rates may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

We are engaged in life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance and claims adjusting businesses and derive revenues primarily from commissions and fees paid by the insurance companies whose policies our customers purchase and to whom we provide claims adjusting services. Our commission and fee rates are set by insurance companies and are based on the premiums that the insurance companies charge or the amount recovered by insurance companies. Commission and fee rates and premiums can change based on the prevailing economic, regulatory, taxation-related and competitive factors that affect insurance companies. For example, the Draft Measure on the Life Insurance Sales Behaviors sets a cap on total commissions rate of life insurance products at the pre-set surcharge ratio of the life insurance product. These factors, which are not within our control, include the ability of insurance companies to place new business, underwriting and non-underwriting profits of insurance companies, consumer demand for insurance products, the availability of comparable products from other insurance companies at a lower cost, the availability of alternative insurance products such as government benefits and self-insurance plans, as well as the tax deductibility of commissions and fees and the consumers themselves. In addition, premium rates for certain insurance products, such as the mandatory automobile liability insurance that each automobile owner in the PRC is legally required to purchase, are tightly regulated by CBIRC.

 

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Because we do not determine, and cannot predict, the timing or extent of premium or commission and fee rate changes, we cannot predict the effect any of these changes may have on our operations. Any decrease in premiums or commission and fee rates may significantly affect our profitability. In addition, our budget for future acquisitions, capital expenditures and other expenditures may be disrupted by unexpected decreases in revenues caused by decreases in premiums or commission and fee rates, thereby adversely affecting our operations.

 

Quarterly and annual variations in our commission and fee revenue may unexpectedly impact our results of operations.

 

Our commission and fee revenue are subject to both quarterly and annual fluctuations as a result of the seasonality of our business, the timing of policy renewals and the net effect of new and lost business. Life insurance commission revenue is usually the highest in the first quarter and lowest in the fourth quarter of any given year as much of the jumpstart sales activities of life insurance companies occur in January and February during which life insurance companies would increase their sales efforts by offering more incentives for insurance agents and insurance intermediaries to increase sales, while the preparation for the jumpstart sales starts in the fourth quarter of each year. Started in 2021, we also record estimated renewal commission revenue for long-term policy based on the expected renewal rate as well as the possibility of achieving performance targets. This, in a way, mitigates some degree of seasonality issue. Apart from the outbreak of epidemic and the recognition of estimated renewal commissions, some other factors that cause the quarterly and annual variations are not within our control. Specifically, regulatory changes to product design may result in cessation of products from time to time and cause quarterly fluctuation in the results of our operations. In addition, consumer demand for insurance products can influence the timing of renewals, new business and lost business, which generally includes policies that are not renewed, and cancellations. As a result, you may not be able to rely on quarterly or annual comparisons of our operating results as an indication of our future performance.

 

Our operating structure may make it difficult to respond quickly to operational or financial problems, which could negatively affect our financial results.

 

We currently operate primarily through our wholly-owned or majority-owned insurance agencies and claims adjusting firms and their branches and to a smaller extent through our consolidated VIEs located in 31 provinces in China. These companies report their financial results to our corporate headquarters monthly. If these companies delay either reporting results or informing corporate headquarters of negative business developments such as losses of relationships with insurance companies, regulatory inquiries or any other negative events, we may not be able to take action to remedy the situation in a timely fashion. This in turn could have a negative effect on our financial results. In addition, if one of these companies were to report inaccurate financial information, we might not learn of the inaccuracies on a timely basis and be able to take corrective measures promptly, which could negatively affect our ability to report our financial results.

  

Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our senior management team and other key personnel, and our business may be harmed if we lose their services.

 

Our future success depends heavily upon the continuing services of the members of our senior management team and other key personnel, in particular, Mr. Yinan Hu, or Mr. Hu, our vice chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer, Mr. Peng Ge, or, Mr. Ge, our chief financial officer, Mr. Ben Lin, our chief strategy officer, Mr. Lichong Liu, our chief operating officer and vice president and Mr. Jun Li, our chief digital officer and vice president. If one or more of our senior executives or other key personnel, are unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we may not be able to replace them easily, or at all. As such, our business may be disrupted and our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. Competition for senior management and key personnel in our industry is intense because of a number of factors including the limited pool of qualified candidates. We may not be able to retain the services of our senior executives or key personnel, or attract and retain high-quality senior executives or key personnel in the future. As is customary in the PRC, we do not have insurance coverage for the loss of our senior management team or other key personnel.

 

In addition, if any member of our senior management team or any of our other key personnel joins a competitor or forms a competing company, we may lose customers, sensitive trade information, key professionals and staff members. Each of our executive officers and key employees has entered into an employment agreement with us which contains confidentiality and non-competition provisions. These agreements generally have an initial term of three years, and are automatically extended for successive one-year terms unless terminated earlier pursuant to the terms of the agreement. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—A. Directors and Senior Management—Employment Agreements” for a more detailed description of the key terms of these employment agreements. If any disputes arise between any of our senior executives or key personnel and us, we cannot assure you of the extent to which any of these agreements may be enforced.

 

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Salesperson and employee misconduct is difficult to detect and deter and could harm our reputation or lead to regulatory sanctions or litigation costs.

 

Salesperson and employee misconduct could result in violations of law by us, regulatory sanctions, litigation or serious reputational or financial harm. Misconduct could include:

 

  making misrepresentations when marketing or selling insurance to customers;

 

  hindering insurance applicants from making full and accurate mandatory disclosures or inducing applicants to make misrepresentations;

 

  hiding or falsifying material information in relation to insurance contracts;

 

  fabricating or altering insurance contracts without authorization from relevant parties, selling false policies, or providing false documents on behalf of the applicants;

 

  falsifying insurance agency business or fraudulently returning insurance policies to obtain commissions;

 

  colluding with applicants, insureds, or beneficiaries to obtain insurance benefits;

 

  engaging in false claims; or

 

  otherwise not complying with laws and regulations or our control policies or procedures.

 

We have internal policies and procedures to deter salesperson or employee misconduct. However, the measures and precautions we take to prevent and detect these activities may not be effective in all cases. Therefore, salesperson or employee misconduct could lead to a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, the general increase in misconduct in the industry could potentially harm the reputation of the industry and have an adverse impact on our business.

 

Our investments in certain financial products may not yield the benefits we anticipate or incur financial loss, which could adversely affect our cash position.

 

In order to improve our return on capital, we may from time to time, upon board approval, invest a certain portion of our cash in financial products, such as trust products, with terms of half a year to two years. These products may involve various risks, including default risks, interest risks, and other risks. We cannot guarantee these investments will yield the returns we anticipate and we could suffer financial loss resulting from the purchase of these financial products.

 

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

 

We are subject to reporting obligations under U.S. securities laws. Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the related rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, every public company is required to include a management report on the company’s internal controls over financial reporting in its annual report, which contains management’s assessment of the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls over financial reporting. In addition, an independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls over financial reporting.

 

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As required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related rules as promulgated by the SEC, our management assessed the effectiveness of the internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023 using criteria established in “Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013)” issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2023. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment for our financial reporting, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which could result in inaccuracies in our consolidated financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and make related regulatory filings on a timely basis. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs, may be materially and adversely affected. Moreover, if we are not able to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which would negatively impact the trading price of our ADSs. Our reporting obligations as a public company, including our efforts to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, will continue to place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future.

 

We may face legal action by former employers or principals of entrepreneurial agents who join our distribution and service network.

 

Competition for productive sales agents is intense within the Chinese insurance industry. When an entrepreneurial agent leaves his or her employer or principal to join our distribution and service network as our sales agent, we may face legal action by his or her former employer or principal of the entrepreneurial agent on the ground of unfair competition or breach of contract. As of the date of this annual report, there has been no such action filed or threatened against us. We cannot assure you that this will not happen in the future. Any such legal actions, regardless of merit, could be expensive and time-consuming and could divert resources and management’s attention from the operation of our business. If we were found liable in such a legal action, we might be required to pay substantial damages to the former employer or principal of the entrepreneurial agent, and our business reputation might be harmed. Moreover, the filing of such a legal action may discourage potential entrepreneurial agents from leaving their employers or principals, thus reducing the number of entrepreneurial agents we can recruit and potentially harming our growth prospects.

  

If we are required to write down goodwill and investment in affiliates, our financial condition and results may be materially and adversely affected.

 

When we acquire a business, the amount of the purchase price that is allocated to goodwill is determined by the excess of the fair value of purchase price and any controlling interest over the net identifiable tangible assets acquired. As of December 31, 2023, goodwill represented RMB374.1 million (US$52.7 million), or 5.8% of our total shareholders’ equity. Our management performs impairment assessments annually and we did not recognize any impairment loss between 2016 and 2023. Under current accounting standards, if we determine that goodwill is impaired, we will be required to write down the value of such assets and recognize corresponding impairment charges.

 

Prior to June 28, 2022, we accounted for our 18.5% of equity interests in CNFinance Holdings Limited (“CNFinance”) using the equity method. A provision of an impairment of RMB78.3 million (US$12.3 million) on investment in CNFinance was recognized in the first quarter of 2022, reflecting the decline in the fair value of our investment in CNFinance to an amount below its carrying value which was other-than-termporary. On June 28, 2022, we completed distribution of 252,995,600 ordinary shares of CNFinance to the Company’s shareholders in proportion to their then respective shareholdings in the Company. Following the distribution, Fanhua’s equity stake in CNFinance decreased from approximately 18.5% to approximately 0.01% and we ceased to recognize share of income of CNFinance.

 

Any future write-down related to such goodwill and equity method investments may materially and adversely affect our shareholders’ equity and financial results.

 

Preparing and forecasting our financial results requires us to make judgments and estimates which may differ materially from actual results.

 

Given the evolving regulatory and competitive environment and the inherent limitations in predicting the future, forecasts of our revenues, operating income, net income and other financial and operating data may differ materially from actual results. Such discrepancies could cause a decline in the trading price of our stock. In addition, the preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period. Our management base their estimates on historical experience and various other factors which are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, and the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant accounting estimates reflected in our consolidated financial statements included estimates of allowance for doubtful receivables and estimates associated with equity-method investment impairment assessments. Actual results could differ from those estimates, which could negatively affect our stock price.

 

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Any significant failure in our information technology systems could have a material adverse effect on our business and profitability.

 

Our business is highly dependent on the ability of our information technology systems to timely process a large number of transactions across different markets and products at a time when transaction processes have become increasingly complex and the volume of such transactions is growing rapidly. The proper functioning of our financial control, accounting, customer database, customer service and other data processing systems, together with the communication systems of our various subsidiaries, branches and our main offices in Guangzhou, is critical to our business and our ability to compete effectively. Our business activities could be materially disrupted in the event of a partial or complete failure of any of these primary information technology or communication systems, which could be caused by, among other things, software malfunction, computer virus attacks or conversion errors due to system upgrading. In addition, a prolonged failure of our information technology system could damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our prospects and profitability.

  

A computer system failure, cyber-attacks, any failure to protect the confidential information of our customers or other security breaches may disrupt our business, loss of customers, damage our reputation, result in potential liability and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We use computer systems to store, retrieve, evaluate and utilize customer and company data and information. Our business is highly dependent on our ability to access these systems to perform necessary business functions such as selling insurance products, providing customer support, policy management and claims assistance. Although we have designed and implemented a variety of security measures and backup plans to prevent or limit the effect of failure, our computer systems may be vulnerable to disruptions as a result of natural disasters, man-made disasters, criminal activities, pandemics or other events beyond our control. In addition, our computer systems may be subject to computer viruses or other malicious codes, unauthorized access, cyber-attacks or other computer-related penetrations. The failure of our computer systems for any reason could disrupt our operations and may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Although we have not experienced such a computer system failure or security breach in the past, we cannot assure you that we will not encounter a failure or security breach in the future.

 

Our customer database holds confidential information concerning our customers. We may be unable to prevent third parties, such as hackers or criminal organizations, from stealing information provided by our customers to us. Confidential information of our customers may also be misappropriated or inadvertently disclosed through employee misconduct or mistake. We may also in the future be required to disclose to government authorities certain confidential information concerning our customers. In addition, many of our customers pay for our insurance services through third-party online payment services. In such transactions, maintaining complete security during the transmission of confidential information, such as personal information, is essential to maintaining consumer confidence. We have limited influence over the security measures of third-party online payment service providers. In addition, our third-party merchants may violate their confidentiality obligations and disclose information about our customers. Any compromise of our security or third-party service providers’ security could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Though we have not experienced any material cybersecurity incidents in the past, if our database were compromised by outside sources or if we are accused of failing to protect the confidential information of our customers, we may be forced to expend significant financial and managerial resources in remedying the situation, defending against these accusations and we may face potential liability. Any negative publicity, especially concerning breaches in our cybersecurity systems, may adversely affect our public image and reputation. Though we take proactive measures to protect against these risks and we believe that our efforts in this area are sufficient for our business, we cannot be certain that such measures will prove effective against all cybersecurity risks. In addition, any perception by the public that online commerce is becoming increasingly unsafe or that the privacy of customer information is vulnerable to attack could inhibit the growth of online services generally, which in turn may reduce the number of our customers.

 

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Our business is subject to insurance company partner concentration risks arising from dependence on a single or limited number of insurance company partners.

 

We derive a significant portion of net revenues from distributing insurance products supplied by our important insurance company partners. Among the top five of our insurance company partners, Sinatay accounted for 15.3% of our total net revenues in 2023.

 

Because of this concentration in the supply of the insurance products we distribute, our business and operations would be negatively affected if we experience a partial or complete loss of any of these insurance company partners. In addition, any significant adverse change in our relationship with any of these insurance company partners could result in loss of revenue, increased costs and distribution delays that could harm our business and customer relationships. In addition, this concentration can exacerbate our exposure to risks associated with the termination by key insurance company partners of our agreements or any adverse change in the terms of such agreements, which could have an adverse impact on our revenues and profitability.

  

If we are unable to respond in a timely and cost-effective manner to rapid technological change in the insurance intermediary industry, it may result in a material adverse effect.

 

The insurance industry is increasingly influenced by rapid technological change, frequent new product and service introductions and evolving industry standards. For example, the insurance intermediary industry has increased the use of the Internet to communicate benefits and related information to consumers and to facilitate information exchange, transactions and training. We believe that our future success will depend on our ability to anticipate and adapt to technological changes and to offer additional products and services that meet evolving standards on a timely and cost-effective manner. We may not be able to successfully identify new product and service opportunities or develop and introduce these opportunities in a timely and cost-effective manner. In addition, new products and services that our competitors develop or introduce may render our products and services uncompetitive. As a result, if we are not able to respond or adapt to technological changes that may affect our industry in the future, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We face risks related to health epidemics, including the COVID-19 outbreak, severe weather conditions and other catastrophes, which could materially and adversely affect our business.

 

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of health epidemics including COVID-19, severe weather conditions or other catastrophes. The outbreak of the COVID-19 and the measures to contain its spread has from time to time disrupted our operations and adversely affected our business financial condition and results of operations from 2020 to the first quarter of 2023. Although the direct impact of COVID-19 gradually recedes, the pandemic may have a lingering, long-term effect on business activities and consumption behavior. There is no assurance that we will be able to adjust our business operations to adapt to these changes and the increasingly complex environment in which we operate.

 

Any occurrence of other adverse public health developments or severe weather conditions may also significantly disrupt our staffing and otherwise reduce the activity level of our work force, thus causing a material and adverse effect on our business operations.

 

We may be at risk of securities class action litigation.

 

Historically, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following periods of instability in the market price of its securities. If we face such litigation, it could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could harm our business.

 

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Recently, U.S. public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China, have been the subject of intense scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity by some investors, financial commentators and regulatory agencies. Much of the scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity has centered around financial and accounting irregularities, a lack of effective internal controls over financial accounting, inadequate corporate governance policies or a lack of adherence thereto and, in some cases, allegations of fraud. As a result of the scrutiny, criticism and negative publicity, the publicly traded stocks of many U.S.-listed Chinese companies have sharply decreased in value and, in some cases, have become virtually worthless. Some of these companies are now subject to shareholder lawsuits and SEC enforcement actions and are conducting or subject to internal and external investigations into the allegations. We had been targeted by short selling reports in the past and became subject to class action lawsuits which were subsequently dismissed or settled. Shortselling firms or others may in the future publish additional short seller reports with respect to our business, officers, directors and shareholders, and we may become subject to other unfavorable allegations, which might cause further fluctuations in the trading price of our ADSs. Such volatility in our share price could subject us to increased risk of securities class action lawsuits or derivative actions.

  

Any future class action lawsuit against us, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital. In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Even if such allegations are ultimately proven to be groundless, the allegations or the process of dealing with them could severely impact our business operations and stockholder’s equity, and any investment in our ADSs could be greatly reduced.

 

We may be subject, from time to time, to adverse actions taken by other parties, including lawsuits and negative reports and regulatory proceedings, which may divert resources and the time and attention of our management and may otherwise adversely affect us.

 

From time to time, we may become a party to litigations incidental to the operation of our business, including class action lawsuits and disputes with other third parties. Litigation usually requires a significant amount of management time and effort, which may adversely affect our business by diverting management’s focus from the needs of our business and the development of strategic opportunities.

 

We cannot predict the outcome of these lawsuits. Regardless of the outcome, these lawsuits, and any other litigation that may be brought against us or our current or former directors and officers, could be time-consuming, result in significant expenses and divert the attention and resources of our management and other key employees. An unfavorable outcome in any of these matters could also exceed coverage provided under applicable insurance policies, which is limited. Any such unfavorable outcome could have a material effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Further, we could be required to pay damages or additional penalties or have other remedies imposed against us, or our current or former directors or officers, which could harm our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

In addition, the NFRA may from time to time make inquiries and conduct examinations concerning our compliance with PRC laws and regulations. These administrative proceedings have in the past resulted in administrative sanctions, including fines, which have not been material to us. While we cannot predict the outcome of any pending or future examination, we do not believe that any pending legal matter will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. However, we cannot assure you that any future regulatory proceeding will not have an adverse outcome, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results or cash flows.

 

There can be no assurance that any definitive agreement with respect to the Strategic Framework Agreement with White Group will be executed or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. Potential uncertainty involving the proposed transaction may adversely affect our business and the market price of our ordinary shares and warrants.

 

On February 2, 2024, we entered into a framework agreement with Singapore White Group Pte. Ltd. (“White Group”), pursuant to which White Group and its partners intend to invest up to US$500 million in us. Subsequently, we and White Group entered into a supplementary agreement, according to which, in addition to the up to US$500 million investment, both parties will explore investments in certain high-quality assets including an Asia-based telehealth solution provider and an AI Humanoid hardware manufacturer. There can be no assurance that any definitive agreement will be executed or that any proposed transaction will be approved or consummated. These uncertainties may increase the volatility of the market price of our ordinary shares and have a material adverse effect on the market price of our ordinary shares.

 

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Our business is subject to the risks associated with international operations and we may be unsuccessful in our international expansion.

 

We started to expand into international markets in 2023 by establishing two joint venture companies in Hong Kong SAR including an insurance broker company and an insurance technology company, extending our strategy of building quality independent financial distribution and technology-driven open platform to markets outside of mainland China. Expanding our business overseas exposes us to a number of risks, including but not limited to:

 

difficulty in understanding local markets and culture and complying with unfamiliar laws and regulations;

 

ability to adapt to unexpected legal or regulatory changes in local markets;

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

 

difficulty in identifying suitable partners and establishing and maintaining good cooperative relationships with them;

 

difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel;

 

potentially adverse tax consequences; and

 

increased costs associated with doing business in foreign jurisdictions.

 

Therefore, there is no assurance that we will be able to establish foothold in Hong Kong SAR or any other international markets that we intend to enter in the future and our international expansion may not yield the benefits in accordance with our expectations, which may result in loss of financial resources and cause an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

 

There is no assurance that we can meet obligation under bank borrowing arrangements. Failure to repay bank borrowing on time and in full could have material adverse impact on our reputation, financial stability and ability to fund operations and strategic initiatives.

 

We may pursue bank borrowings from time to time to fund our operations and optimize our capital structure. For example, in 2023, we obtained a term loan from a commercial bank amounting to RMB200 million, with an interest rate of 4.5% per annum, payable within one year. The borrowing and interests were repaid in full in February 2024, and a new bank loan facility of RMB1.6 million was obtained subsequently, with an interest rate of 3.5% payable within one year. Our ability to repay bank borrowing is dependent on our financial performance, including our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations. Factors such as declining revenues, increasing expenses, or unexpected losses could affect our ability to meet payment obligations. In addition, economic conditions and market fluctuations may impact our ability to access capital markets for refinancing or raising additional funds to repay bank borrowing. Failure to repay bank borrowing could cause reputation damage, operational disruption, and legal consequences and affect our financial stability, which could adversely affect our financial conditions and hinder our ability to fund growth opportunities and strategic initiatives.

 

We are exposed to risks associated with uncertainty in collectability of loan receivables

 

We may extend loans to our affiliates or third parties from time to time, which exposes us to the risk of non-payment or delayed payment of the loans receivables as well as impairment risk. Despite our thorough evaluation of borrowers’ creditworthiness, economic conditions, and other relevant factors, there is no assurance that all loan receivables will be collected in full and on time. The collectability of our loan receivables may depend on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including but not limited to economic conditions, market conditions, regulatory risks, or operational failures of the borrowers which could adversely affect the ability of borrowers to repay their loans. The creditworthiness of borrowers may deteriorate over time due to changes in financial circumstances, industry-specific factors, or other reasons. While certain loans may be secured by collateral, the value of such collateral may decline or become insufficient to cover the outstanding loan balance in the event of default. Changes in the credit quality of loans may require us to recognize impairment charges, reducing the carrying value of loan receivables and negatively impacting our financial results. These risks, individually or collectively, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

 

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

 

Fanhua Inc. is a Cayman Islands holding company primarily operating in China through its subsidiaries and a small part of its business through contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies. Investors in the ADSs thus are not purchasing, and may never directly hold, all equity interests in the consolidated VIEs. There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations, and rules relating to such agreements that establish the VIE structure for our consolidated VIEs’ operations in China, including potential future actions by the PRC government, which could affect the enforceability of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and, consequently, adversely affect the financial condition and results of operations of Fanhua Inc. If the PRC government finds such agreements non-compliant with relevant PRC laws, regulations, and rules, or if these laws, regulations, and rules or the interpretation thereof change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish part of our interests in Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies or forfeit our rights under the contractual arrangements.

 

We are a company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands, and Fanhua Group Company, our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, is considered a foreign-invested enterprise. PRC laws and regulations restrict and impose conditions on foreign ownership and investment in certain internet-based businesses. Accordingly, we operate these business through the consolidated variable interest entities (“VIEs”), namely Shenzhen Xinbao Investment Management Co., Ltd. or Xinbao Investment, and Fanhua RONS (Beijing) Technologies Co., Ltd., or Fanhua RONS Technologies, and their subsidiaries, and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, the consolidated VIEs and their respective shareholders to control the business operations of the consolidated VIEs and their subsidiaries. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Major Changes in our Corporate Structure.”

 

The consolidated VIEs and/or their subsidiaries hold the licenses and permits necessary to conduct our online insurance operations in China including Value-added Telecommunication Business Operation Permit for ICP services, or ICP licenses. Our contractual arrangements with the consolidated VIEs and their shareholders enable us to: (i) exercise effective control over Xinbao Investment and its subsidiaries; (ii) have an exclusive option to purchase part of the equity interests in Xinbao Investment when and to the extent permitted by PRC law; and (iii) receive all of the economic benefits from the consolidated VIEs in consideration for the services provided by our subsidiaries in China. The Contractual Arrangements allow us to be the primary beneficiary of the consolidated VIE and to consolidate the Consolidated VIE’s results of operations into our financial statements.

 

If the Contractual Arrangements that establish the structure for operating our and the consolidated VIEs’ business in the PRC are found to be in violation of any existing or any PRC laws or regulations in the future, or the PRC government finds that we, or the consolidated VIEs fails to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the MIIT, MOFCOM and STA, would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

  revoking the business and operating licenses;

 

  discontinuing or restricting the operations;

 

  imposing fines or confiscating any of the income from us and the consolidated VIEs that they deem to have been obtained through illegal operations;

 

  requiring us to restructure our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations in such a way as to compel us to establish new entities, re-apply for the necessary licenses or relocate our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, staff and assets;

 

  imposing additional conditions or requirements with which we and the consolidated VIEs may not be able to comply;

 

  restricting or prohibiting the use of proceeds from the initial public offering or other financing activities to finance our and the consolidated VIEs’ business and operations in the PRC; or

 

  taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our and the consolidated VIEs’ business.

 

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Any of these actions could cause significant disruption or result in a material change to our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations, and may materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, it is unclear what impact the PRC government actions would have on us and on our ability to consolidate the financial results of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Techologies and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements, if the PRC governmental authorities find the consolidated VIEs’ legal structure and Contractual Arrangements to be in violation of PRC laws, rules and regulations. If any of these penalties results in our inability to direct the activities of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Techologies or their subsidiaries that most significantly impact its economic performance and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Techologies or their subsidiaries, we may not be able to consolidate Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Techologies and/or their subsidiaries into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. If we are unable to claim our right to control the assets of the consolidated VIEs, the ADSs may decline in value or become worthless.

 

The PRC government has significant authority to exert influence on the China operations of an offshore holding company, such as us. Therefore, investors in the ADSs and our and the consolidated VIEs’ business face potential uncertainty from the PRC government’s policy. Changes in China’s economic, political or social conditions, or government policies could materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

Substantially all of our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations are located in China. The PRC government has significant authority to exert influence on the China operations of an offshore holding company, such as us. Despite economic reforms and measures implemented by the PRC government, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating industrial development, allocation of natural and other resources, production, pricing and management of currency, and there can be no assurance that the PRC government will continue to pursue a policy of economic reform or that the direction of reform will continue to be market friendly.

 

Our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to successfully expand business operations in the PRC depends on a number of factors, including macro-economic and other market conditions. Demand for our and the consolidated VIEs’ services and our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected by the following factors:

 

  political instability or changes in social conditions of the PRC;

 

  changes in laws, regulations, and administrative directives or the interpretation thereof;

 

  measures which may be introduced to control inflation or deflation; and

 

  changes in the rate or method of taxation.

 

These factors are affected by a number of variables which are beyond our and the consolidated VIEs’ control.

 

We and the consolidated VIEs are subject to extensive and evolving legal development, non-compliance with which, or changes in which, may materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business and prospects, and may result in a material change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations and/or the value of our ADSs or could significantly limit or completely hinder our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of our securities to significantly decline or be worthless.

 

PRC companies are subject to various PRC laws, regulations and government policies and the relevant laws, regulations and policies continue to evolve. Recently, the PRC government is enhancing supervision over companies seeking listings overseas and some specific business or activities such as the use of variable interest entities and data security or anti-monopoly. The PRC government may adopt new measures that may affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations, or may exert more oversight and control over offerings conducted outside of China and foreign investment in China-based companies, and we and the consolidated VIEs may be subject to challenges brought by these new laws, regulations and policies. However, since these laws, regulations and policies are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties. Furthermore, as we and the consolidated VIEs may be subject to additional, yet undetermined, laws and regulations, compliance may require us to obtain additional permits and licenses, complete or update registrations with relevant regulatory authorities, adjust our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations, as well as allocate additional resources to monitor developments in the relevant regulatory environment. However, under the stringent regulatory environment, it may take much more time for the relevant regulatory authorities to approve new applications for permits and licenses, and complete or update registrations and we cannot assure you that we and the consolidated VIEs will be able to comply with these laws and regulations in a timely manner or at all. The failure to comply with these laws and regulations may delay, or possibly prevent, us to conduct business, accept foreign investments, or listing overseas.

  

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The occurrence of any of these events may materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business and prospects and may result in a material change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations and/or the value of our ADSs or could significantly limit or completely hinder our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. In addition, if any of changes causes us unable to direct the activities of the consolidated VIEs or lose the right to receive their economic benefits, we may not be able to consolidate the VIEs into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which could cause the value of our ADSs to significantly decline or become worthless.

 

It is unclear whether we and the consolidated VIEs will be subject to the oversight of the Cyberspace Administration of China and how such oversight may impact us. Our and the consolidated VIEs’ business could be interrupted or we and the consolidated VIEs could be subject to liabilities which may materially and adversely affect the results of our and the consolidated VIEs’ operation and the value of your investment.

 

Pursuant to the PRC Cybersecurity Law and the Measures for Cybersecurity Censorship, if a critical information infrastructure operator that intends to purchase internet products and services and data processing operators (collectively, the “operators”) engaging in data processing activities that affect or may affect national security must be subject to the cybersecurity review. According to the Regulations for Safe Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure, or the Safe Protection Regulations, which took effect on September 1, 2021, critical information infrastructure refers to important network infrastructure and information systems in public telecommunications, information services, energy sources, transportation and other critical industries and domains, in which any destruction or data leakage will have severe impact on national security, the nation’s welfare, the people’s living and public interests. As of the date hereof, we and the consolidated VIEs have not received any notice from such authorities identifying us as a critical information infrastructure operator or requiring us to going through cybersecurity review by the CAC.

 

On December 28, 2021, the CAC, NDRC, MIIT, the MPS, the Ministry of National Security, the MOF, the MOFCOM, the PBOC, the National Radio and Television Administration, the CSRC, the National Administration of State Secrets Protection and the State Cryptography Administration jointly released the Measures for Cybersecurity Review Measures, or the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which took effect on February 15, 2022. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, the scope of cybersecurity reviews is extended to data processing operators engaging in data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. The Cybersecurity Review Measures further requires that any operator applying for listing on a foreign exchange must go through cybersecurity review if it possesses personal information of more than one million users. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, a cybersecurity review assesses potential national security risks that may be brought about by any procurement, data processing, or overseas listing. The review focuses on several factors, including, among others, (i) the risk of theft, leakage, corruption, illegal use or export of any core or important data, or a large amount of personal information, and (ii) the risk of any critical information infrastructure, core or important data, or a large amount of personal information being affected, controlled or maliciously exploited by a foreign government after a company is listed overseas.

 

Our PRC legal counsel is of the view that there is a relatively low likelihood that we and the consolidated VIEs will be subject to the cybersecurity review by the CAC for a future offering of our securities to foreign investors, given that: (i) we and the consolidated VIEs have not been recognized as critical information infrastructure operators; (ii) data processed in our and the consolidated VIEs’ business do not have an impact or potential impact on national security; and (iii) the Cybersecurity Review Measures require operators of online platforms that hold personal information of more than one million users to file a cybersecurity review with the Cybersecurity Review Office when they go public abroad. On February 17, 2023, the CSRC released the Trial Administrative Measures of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies and five supporting guidelines, or collectively, the Filing Rules, which came into effect on March 31, 2023, pursuant to the new rules, China-based issuers that seek to offer, list their securities or refinancing in an overseas market, are required to fulfill relevant filing procedure and report relevant information to the CSRC, and other pre-procedure of relevant regulatory authorities before filing to CSRC, including but not limited to CAC. However, there remains uncertainty as to how the Cybersecurity Review Measures will be interpreted and whether the PRC regulatory agencies, including the CAC and the CSRC, may adopt new laws, regulations, rules, or detailed implementation and interpretation related to the Cybersecurity Review Measures and the Filing Rules. If any such new laws, regulations, rules, or implementation and interpretation comes into effect, we and the consolidated VIE will take all reasonable measures and actions to comply and minimize the adverse effect of such laws on us.

 

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We cannot assure you that PRC regulatory agencies, including the CAC, would take the same view as we do, and there is no assurance that we and the consolidated VIEs can fully or timely comply with such laws. In the event that we and the consolidated VIEs are subject to any mandatory cybersecurity review and other specific actions required by the CAC, we and the consolidated VIE face uncertainty as to whether any clearance or other required actions can be timely completed, or at all. Given such uncertainty, we and the consolidated VIEs may be further required to suspend our and the consolidated VIEs’ relevant business, shut down our and the consolidated VIE’s website, or face other penalties, which could materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, financial condition, and results of operations, and/or the value of our ADSs or could significantly limit or completely hinder our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. In addition, if any of these events causes us unable to direct the activities of the consolidated VIEs or lose the right to receive their economic benefits, we may not be able to consolidate the VIEs into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which could cause the value of our ADSs to significantly decline or become worthless.

 

On November 14, 2021, the CAC published the Regulations on the Cyber Data Security (Draft for Comments until December 13, 2021), which further regulate the internet data processing activities and emphasize on the supervision and management of network data security, and further stipulate the obligations of internet platform operators, such as to establish a system for disclosure of platform rules, privacy policies and algorithmic strategies related to data. Specifically, the draft regulations require data processors to, among others, (i) adopt immediate remediation measures when they discover that network products and services they use or provide have security defects and vulnerabilities, or threaten national security or endanger public interest, and (ii) follow a series of detailed requirements with respect to processing personal information, management of important data and proposed overseas transfer of data. The following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) merger, reorganization or division of internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests affects or may affect national security; (ii) listing abroad of data processors processing over one million users’ personal information; (iii) listing in Hong Kong SAR which affects or may affect national security; or (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. The draft measures also require data processors that handle important data or are seeking to be listed overseas to complete an annual data security self-assessment or entrust a data security service institution to do so, and file a data security assessment report of previous year to the local branch of applicable regulators before January 31 each year. Such annual assessment, as required by the draft regulations, would encompass areas including but not limited to the status of important data processing, data security risks identified and the rectification measures adopted, the effectiveness of data protection measures, the implementation of national data security laws and regulations, data security incidents that occurred and how they were resolved, and a security assessment with respect to sharing and provision of important data overseas. As of the date hereof, the draft regulations have been released for public comment only and have not been formally adopted. The final provisions, interpretation, implementation and the timeline for its adoption are subject to changes and uncertainties.

 

As there remain uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of such regulatory guidance, we cannot assure you that we will be able to comply with new regulatory requirements relating to our future overseas capital raising activities, and may be subject to more stringent requirements with respect to matters including data privacy and cross-border investigation and enforcement of legal claims. In the event that we and the consolidated VIEs are subject to any mandatory cybersecurity review and other specific actions required by the CAC, we and the consolidated VIEs face uncertainty as to whether any clearance or other required actions can be timely completed, or at all. Given such uncertainty, we and the consolidated VIEs may be further required to suspend our and the consolidated VIEs’ relevant business, shut down our and the consolidated VIEs’ website, or face other penalties, which could materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, financial condition, and results of operations, and/or the value of our ADSs or could significantly limit or completely hinder our and the consolidated VIEs’ ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. In addition, if any of these events causes us unable to direct the activities of the consolidated VIEs or lose the right to receive their economic benefits, we may not be able to consolidate the VIEs into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which could cause the value of our ADSs to significantly decline or become worthless.

 

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The PRC government’s oversight over our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations could result in a material adverse change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations and the value of our ADSs.

 

We conduct our business in China primarily through our PRC subsidiaries, including Fanhua Group Company and its subsidiaries in which we hold equity ownership interests, and the contractual arrangements with the consolidated VIEs. Our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. The PRC government has significant oversight over the conduct of our and the consolidated VIEs’ business, and it regulates and may intervene our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations at any time, which could result in a material adverse change in our and the consolidated VIEs’ operation and/or the value of our ADSs. Also, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers like us. Any such action could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. In addition, implementation of industry-wide regulations directly targeting our and the consolidated VIEs’ operations could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline. Therefore, investors of us and the consolidated VIEs and our and the consolidated VIEs’ business face potential uncertainty from actions taken by the PRC government. 

 

Any failure by the VIEs or their respective shareholders to perform their obligations under our Contractual Arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We have entered into a series of Contractual Arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, our consolidated VIEs and the shareholders of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, respectively. For a description of these Contractual Arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” If our consolidated VIEs or the shareholder of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies fail to perform their respective obligations under the Contractual Arrangements, we may incur substantial costs and expend additional resources to enforce such arrangements. We may also have to rely on legal remedies under PRC laws, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you that it will be effective under PRC laws. For example, if the shareholders of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies were to refuse to transfer their equity interests in Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies to us or our designee when we exercise the purchase option pursuant to these Contractual Arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

 

All the agreements under our Contractual Arrangements are governed by PRC laws and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these Contractual Arrangements. Meanwhile, there are very few precedents and little formal guidance as to how Contractual Arrangements in the context of a variable interest entity should be interpreted or enforced under PRC laws. There remain significant uncertainties regarding the ultimate outcome of such arbitration should legal action become necessary. In addition, under PRC laws, rulings by arbitrators are final and parties cannot appeal arbitration results in court unless such rulings are revoked or determined unenforceable by a competent court. If the losing parties fail to carry out the arbitration awards within a prescribed time limit, the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would require additional expenses and delay. In the event that we are unable to enforce these Contractual Arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these Contractual Arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and their subsidiaries, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our ADSs, cause significant disruption to our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations, and severely damage our and the consolidated VIEs’ reputation, which would materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ financial condition and results of operations and cause our ADSs to significantly decline in value or become worthless. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice, therefore, our assertions and beliefs of the risks imposed by the Chinese legal and regulatory system cannot be certain.”

 

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We rely on contractual arrangements to conduct a small part of our China operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

 

Although we have obtained direct equity ownership in almost all of our insurance intermediary operating companies, we have relied on and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment Fanhua RONS Technologies and their individual nominee shareholder to operate a small part of our business in China. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our consolidated VIEs, and these contractual arrangements have not been tested in a court of law. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure.” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over the VIEs as direct ownership.

 

If we had direct controlling ownership of our consolidated VIEs, we would be able to exercise our rights as a controlling shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of these entities, which in turn could effect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, as a legal matter, if our consolidated VIEs and their shareholders fail to perform their obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend significant resources to enforce such arrangements and rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief and claiming damages, which may not be effective. For example, if the shareholders of our consolidated VIEs were to refuse to transfer their equity interest in such entities to us or our designee when we exercise the call option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal action to compel them to fulfill their contractual obligations.

 

All of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and their individual nominee shareholders are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in the PRC. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal environment in the PRC may bear significant difference from those of other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over the VIEs, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected.

 

The individual shareholders of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, our consolidated VIEs, may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

As of March 31, 2024, Mr. Peng Ge, held 100% of the equity interests in Fanhua RONS Technologies and Mr. Shuangping Jiang, held 51% of the equity interests in Xinbao Investment with the remaining 49% held by our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary Fanhua Group Company. Conflicts of interest may arise between the dual roles of Mr. Ge and Mr. Jiang as shareholders of Fanhua RONS Technologies and Xinbao Investment respectively and as officers of our company. We do not have existing arrangements to address these potential conflicts of interest and cannot assure you that when conflicts arise, Mr. Ge and Mr. Jiang will act in the best interest of our company or that conflicts will be resolved in our favor.

 

Contractual arrangements we have entered into with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities. A finding that we owe additional taxes could substantially reduce our consolidated net income and the value of your investment.

 

Under PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenged by the PRC tax authorities. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements between us and the VIEs are not on an arm’s-length basis and that we adjusted the income of our consolidated VIEs in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. Particularly, the State Administration of Taxation issued a Public Notice, or Public Notice 16, on March 18, 2015, to further regulate and strengthen the transfer pricing administration on outbound payments by a PRC enterprise to its overseas related parties. In addition to emphasizing that outbound payments by a PRC enterprise to its overseas related parties must comply with arm’s-length principles, Public Notice 16 specifies certain circumstances whereby such payments are not deductible for the purpose of the enterprise income tax of the PRC enterprise, including payments to an overseas related party which does not undertake any function, bear any risk or have any substantial operation or activities, payments for services which do not enable the PRC enterprise to obtain direct or indirect economic benefits, or for services that are unrelated to the functions and risks borne by the PRC enterprise, or relate to the protection of the investment interests of the direct or indirect investor of the PRC enterprise, or for services that have already been purchased from a third party or undertaken by the PRC enterprise itself, and royalties paid to an overseas related party which only owns the legal rights of the intangible assets but has no contribution to the creation of such intangible assets. Although we believe all our related party transactions, including all payments by our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs to our non-PRC entities, are made on an arm’s-length basis and our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate decisions by the relevant tax authorities may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially adversely affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction, for PRC tax purposes, of expense deductions recorded by our consolidated VIEs, which could in turn increase their respective tax liabilities. Moreover, the PRC tax authorities may impose penalties on our consolidated VIEs for underpayment of taxes. Our consolidated net income may be materially and adversely affected by the occurrence of any of the foregoing.

  

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PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may delay or prevent us from making loans to our PRC subsidiaries or making additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

We are an offshore holding company conducting our operations in China primarily through our PRC subsidiaries and to a small part through our consolidated VIEs. In order to provide additional funding to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs, we may make loans to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs, or we may make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs.

 

Any loans we make to any of our directly-held PRC subsidiaries (which are treated as foreign-invested enterprises under PRC law), namely, Fanhua Zhonglian Enterprise Image Planning (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., or Zhonglian Enterprise, and Fanhua Xinlian Information Technology Consulting (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd., or Xinlian Information, cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or the SAFE, or its local counterparts. Under applicable PRC law, the amount of a foreign-invested enterprise’s registered capital represents shareholders’ equity investments over a defined period of time, and the foreign-invested enterprise’s total investment represents the total of the company’s registered capital plus permitted loans. The registered capital/total investment ratio cannot be lower than the minimum statutory requirement and the excess of the total investment over the registered capital represents the maximum amount of borrowings that a foreign-invested enterprise is permitted to have under PRC law. Our directly-held PRC subsidiaries were allowed to incur a total of HK300 million (US$38.3 million) in foreign debts as of March 31, 2024. If we were to provide loans to our directly-held PRC subsidiaries in excess of the above amount, we would have to apply to the relevant government authorities for an increase in their permitted total investment amounts. The various applications could be time-consuming and their outcomes would be uncertain. Concurrently with the loans, we might have to make capital contributions to these subsidiaries in order to maintain the statutory minimum registered capital/total investment ratio, and such capital contributions involve uncertainties of their own, as discussed below. Furthermore, even if we make loans to our directly-held PRC subsidiaries that do not exceed their current maximum amount of borrowings, we will have to register each loan with the SAFE or its local counterpart within 15 days after the signing of the relevant loan agreement. Subject to the conditions stipulated by the SAFE, the SAFE or its local counterpart will issue a registration certificate of foreign debts to us within 20 days after reviewing and accepting our application. In practice, it may take longer to complete such SAFE registration process.

 

Any loans we make to any of our indirectly-held PRC subsidiaries (those PRC subsidiaries which we hold indirectly through Zhonglian Enterprise and Xinlian Information) or to any of our consolidated VIEs, all of which are treated as PRC domestic companies rather than foreign-invested enterprises under PRC law, are also subject to various PRC regulations and approvals. Under applicable PRC regulations, medium- and long-term international commercial loans to PRC domestic companies are subject to approval by the National Development and Reform Commission. Short-term international commercial loans to PRC domestic companies are subject to the balance control system effected by the SAFE. Due to the above restrictions, we are not likely to make loans to any of our indirectly-held PRC subsidiaries.

 

Any capital contributions we make to our PRC subsidiaries, including directly-held and indirectly-held PRC subsidiaries, must be approved by the PRC Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts, and registered with the SAFE or its local counterparts. Such applications and registrations could be time-consuming and their outcomes would be uncertain.

 

We cannot assure you that we will be able to complete the necessary government registrations or obtain the necessary government approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans by us to our PRC subsidiaries, or with respect to future capital contributions by us to our PRC subsidiaries. If we fail to complete such registrations or obtain such approvals, our ability to capitalize or otherwise fund our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

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On August 29, 2008, SAFE promulgated Circular 142, a notice regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into RMB. The notice requires that the capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies shall be used only for purposes within the business scope as approved by the authorities in charge of foreign investment or by other government authorities and as registered with the State Administration for Market Regulation or its predecessor the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and, unless set forth in the business scope or in other regulations, may not be used for equity investments within the PRC. In addition, SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of the capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies. The use of such RMB capital may not be changed without SAFE’s approval, and may not in any case be used to repay RMB loans if the proceeds of such loans have not been used. Violations of Circular 142 will result in severe penalties, including heavy fines. As a result, Circular 142 may significantly limit our ability to provide additional funding to our PRC subsidiaries through our directly-held PRC subsidiaries in the PRC, which may adversely affect our ability to expand our business.

 

However, on June 9, 2016, SAFE promulgated Circular 16, a notice on reforming and standardizing the administrative provisions on capital account foreign exchange settlement, which became effective on June 9, 2016. The new notice states that domestic enterprises (including Chinese-funded enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises, excluding financial institutions) shall be allowed to settle their foreign exchange capitals on a discretionary basis. The discretionary settlement by a foreign-invested enterprise of its foreign exchange capital shall mean that the foreign-invested enterprise may, according to its actual business needs, settle with a bank the portion of the foreign exchange capital in its capital account for which the application of discretionary settlement has been specified by relevant policies (including capitals in foreign currencies, external debts, funds repatriated from overseas listing, etc.). For the time being, foreign-invested enterprises are allowed to settle 100% of their foreign exchange capitals on a discretionary basis. The SAFE may adjust the foregoing percentage as appropriate according to balance of payments situations. As a result, Circular 16 will relax the limitation of our ability to provide additional funding to our PRC subsidiaries through our directly-held PRC subsidiaries in the PRC and consolidated VIEs.

 

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

 

The approval of and filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings, capital raising activities and acquisitions or other trading arrangements of domestic enterprises conducted by China-based issuers, and also may be required to go through cybersecurity review under the new laws and the draft laws and regulations of mainland China, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other regulatory procedures.

 

On August 8, 2006, MOFCOM, joined by the CSRC, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the SAT, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and SAFE, jointly promulgated regulations entitled the Provisions Regarding Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Entities by Foreign Investors (the “M&A Rules”), which took effect as of September 8, 2006, and as amended on June 22, 2009. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC published on its official website a notice specifying the documents and materials that are required to be submitted for obtaining CSRC approval. The M&A Rules requires an overseas special purpose vehicle formed for listing purposes through acquisitions of mainland China domestic companies and controlled by mainland China companies or individuals to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to the listing and trading of such special purpose vehicle’s securities on an overseas stock exchange. The interpretation and application of the regulations remain unclear, and our offshore offerings may ultimately require approval of the CSRC. If the CSRC approval is required, it is uncertain whether we can or how long it will take us to obtain the approval and, even if we obtain such CSRC approval, the approval could be rescinded. Any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining the CSRC approval for any of our offshore offerings, or a rescission of such approval is obtained by us, would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities, which could include fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

  

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The new rules for the filing-based administration of overseas securities offerings and listings by Chinese domestic companies released on February 17, 2023, or New Filing Rules, establish a new filing-based regime to regulate overseas offerings and listings by domestic companies. According to the New Filing Rules, (i) an overseas offering and listing by a domestic company, whether directly or indirectly, shall be filed with the CSRC; and (ii) the issuer or its affiliated domestic company, as the case may be, shall file with the CSRC for its initial public offering, follow-on offering, issuance of convertible bonds, offshore relisting after go-private transactions and other equivalent offing activities. In addition, after a domestic company has offered and listed securities in an overseas market, it is required to file a report to the CSRC after the occurrence and public disclosure of certain material corporate events, including but not limited to, change of control and voluntary or mandatory delisting. According to the New Filing Rules, the Company shall be deemed to be a domestic enterprise indirectly listed overseas. However, from March 31, 2023, enterprises that have been listed overseas shall constitute existing enterprises and are not required to conduct the overseas listing filing procedure immediately, but shall carry out filing procedures as required if they conduct future offshore offerings or capital raising activities or are involved in other circumstances that require filing with the CSRC.

 

On February 24, 2023, the CSRC, together with other relevant government authorities, issued the Provisions on Strengthening Confidentiality and Archives Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, or the Archives Rules, which became effective on March 31, 2023. According to the Archives Rules, domestic mainland China companies, whether offering and listing securities overseas directly or indirectly, must strictly abide the applicable laws and regulations when providing or publicly disclosing, either directly or through their overseas listed entities, documents and materials to securities services providers such as securities companies and accounting firms or overseas regulators in the process of their overseas offering and listing. If such documents or materials contain any state secrets or government authorities work secrets, domestic companies must obtain the approval from competent governmental authorities according to the applicable laws, and file with the secrecy administrative department at the same level with the approving governmental authority. Furthermore, the Archives Rules also provides that securities companies and securities service providers shall also fulfill the applicable legal procedures when providing overseas regulatory institutions and other relevant institutions and individuals with documents or materials containing any state secrets or government authorities work secrets or other documents or materials that, if divulged, will jeopardize national security or public interest. For more details of the New Filing Rules, please refer to “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulations—Regulations Relating to Overseas Listing.”

 

In addition, we cannot assure you that any new rules or regulations promulgated in the future will not impose additional requirements on us. If it is determined in the future that approval and filing from the CSRC or other regulatory authorities or other procedures, are required for our offshore offerings or capital raising activities, it is uncertain whether we can or how long it will take us to obtain such approval or complete such filing procedures and any such approval or filing could be rescinded or rejected. In addition, there are uncertainties with regard to whether any report filed with the CSRC after the occurrence of certain material corporate events will be subject to any further action from the CSRC. Any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining such approval or completing such filing procedures for our offshore, offerings, capital raising activities or certain material corporate events, or a rescission of any such approval or filing if obtained by us, would subject us to sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities for failure to seek CSRC approval or filing or other government authorization for our offshore offerings, capital raising activities or certain material corporate events. These regulatory authorities may impose fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, limit our operating privileges in mainland China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from our offshore offerings into mainland China or take other actions that could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects, as well as the trading price of our listed securities. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities also may take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to halt our offshore offerings or capital raising activities before settlement and delivery and further actions of the shares offered or take any actions regarding our material corporate events. Consequently, if investors engage in market trading or other activities in anticipation of and prior to settlement and delivery, they do so at the risk that settlement, delivery and further actions may not occur. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory authorities later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals or accomplish the required filing or other regulatory procedures for our prior offshore offerings or capital raising activities, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such approval requirements, if and when procedures are established to obtain such a waiver. Any uncertainties or negative publicity regarding such approval requirement could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, reputation, and the trading price of our listed securities.

 

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Uncertainties in the PRC legal system and the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our ADSs, cause significant disruption to our and the consolidated VIE’s business operations, and severely damage our and the consolidated VIEs’ reputation, which would materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ financial condition and results of operations and cause our ADSs to significantly decline in value or become worthless. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice, therefore, our assertions and beliefs of the risks imposed by the Chinese legal and regulatory system cannot be certain.

 

The PRC legal system is based on written statutes and prior court decisions have limited value as precedents. Since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involves uncertainties. In addition, rules and regulations in China can change quickly with little advance notice, therefore, our assertions and beliefs of the risks imposed by the Chinese legal and regulatory system cannot be certain.

 

In particular, PRC laws and regulations concerning the insurance industry are developing and evolving. Although we have taken measures to comply with the laws and regulations that are applicable to our business operations, and avoid conducting any non-compliant activities under the applicable laws and regulations, such as illegal fund-raising, forming capital pool or providing guarantee to investors, the PRC government authority may promulgate new laws and regulations regulating the insurance industry in the future. We cannot assure you that our practice would not be deemed to violate any new PRC laws or regulations relating to insurance. Moreover, developments in the insurance industry may lead to changes in PRC laws, regulations and policies or in the interpretation and application of existing laws, regulations and policies that may limit or restrict insurance agency and brokerage services like us, which could materially and adversely affect our business and operations.

 

From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. However, since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules (some of which are not published in a timely manner or at all) that may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, could limit the legal protections available to you and us, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our ADSs, cause significant disruption to our and the consolidated VIEs’ business operations, and severely damage our and the consolidated VIEs’ reputation, which would materially and adversely affect our and the consolidated VIEs’ financial condition and results of operations and cause our ADSs to significantly decline in value or become worthless.

 

A downturn in the Chinese or global economy could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

Substantially all of our business operations are conducted in China. Accordingly, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are subject to a significant degree to economic, political and legal developments in China. While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth in the past 30 years or so, growth has been uneven across different regions and among various economic sectors. Economic growth in China has been slowing in the past few years. The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic development and guide the allocation of resources. However, these measures may not be successful in transforming the Chinese economy or spurring growth. While some of these measures benefit the overall PRC economy, they may also have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments or changes in tax regulations that are applicable to us.

 

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In addition, the global financial markets have experienced significant disruptions between 2008 and 2009, and the United States, Europe and other economies have experienced periods of recessions. The recovery from the economic downturns of 2008 and 2009 has been uneven and is facing new challenges, including the high inflation in the US which creates additional global economic uncertainty. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and China. There have also been concerns about the economic effect of the geo-political tensions in the relationship between China and the United States. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions. Any prolonged slowdown in the global or Chinese economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets to meet liquidity needs. 

 

Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.

 

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and the remittance of currency out of China. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and expenditures from trade-related transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from the SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, approval from appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. Under our current corporate structure, the primary source of our income at the holding company level is dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign-currency-denominated obligations. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currency to satisfy our currency needs, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

 

The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law may increase the enterprise income tax rate applicable to some of our PRC subsidiaries, which could have a material adverse effect on our result of operations.

 

According to the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008, which was subsequently amended on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018, as further clarified by subsequent tax regulations implementing the EIT Law, foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises are subject to enterprise income tax, or EIT, at a uniform rate of 25%, unless otherwise provided.

 

According to the EIT Law and related regulations, such as the Circular on Issues Regarding Tax-related Preferential Policies for Further Implementation of Western Development Strategy jointly issued by the State Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs, China and State Administration for Taxation, enterprises located in the western China regions that fall into the encouraged industries are entitled to 15% EIT preferential tax treatment from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2020. The preferential tax treatment is subsequently extended to December 31, 2030, according to No. 23 Announcement Concerning the Extension of the EIT Policies for Enterprises Located in Western China issued by the Ministry of Finance on April 23, 2020. The preferential tax rates enjoyed by some of our PRC subsidiaries incorporated in such regions, will increase to the uniform 25% EIT rate after 2030. An increase in the EIT rates for those entities pursuant to the EIT Law could result in an increase in our effective tax rate, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Our global income or the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to PRC tax under the EIT Law, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered a resident enterprise and will be subject to the EIT at the rate of 25% on its worldwide income. The Implementation Rules of the EIT Law, or the Implementation Rules, define the term “de facto management bodies” as “establishments that carry out substantial and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel, accounting, properties, etc. of an enterprise.” If we are deemed a resident enterprise, we may be subject to the EIT at 25% on our global income, except that the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiary will be exempt from the EIT. If we are considered a resident enterprise and earn income other than dividends from our PRC subsidiaries, a 25% EIT on our global income could significantly increase our tax burden and materially and adversely affect our cash flow and profitability.

 

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PR Rules, if we are regarded as a resident enterprise, the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries will be exempt from the EIT. If, however, we are not regarded as a resident enterprise, our PRC subsidiaries will be required to pay a 5% or 10% withholding tax, as the case may be, for any dividends they pay to us. As a result, the amount of fund available to us to meet our cash requirements, including the payment of dividends to our shareholders and ADS holders, could be materially reduced.

 

We rely principally on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

 

We are a holding company, and we will rely principally on dividends from our subsidiaries in China and service, license and other fees paid to our subsidiaries by our consolidated VIEs for our cash requirements, including any debt we may incur. Current PRC regulations permit our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, according to the PRC Company Law, each of our PRC subsidiaries is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year as reported in its PRC statutory financial statements, if any, to fund a statutory reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital. In addition, each of our PRC subsidiaries that are considered foreign-invested enterprises is required to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profits as reported in its PRC statutory financial statements to fund the employee welfare fund at the discretion of its board. In addition, according to the Regulation on the Supervision of Insurance Agents, our insurance agency subsidiaries are required to either procure professional liability insurance with minimum compensation for each accident under the one-year professional liability insurance policy no less than RMB1 million, and accumulative compensation under the one-year insurance policy no less than RMB10 million and the total core business revenue of the professional insurance agency company in the previous year, or make a contribution to deposit which shall represent 5% of its registered capital. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

As of December 31, 2023, the aggregate undistributed earnings of the Group’s subsidiaries and VIEs in the PRC that are available for distribution were RMB1.7 billion (US$234.4 million). Furthermore, if our subsidiaries in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. Any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute dividends or other payments to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

 

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents and employee stock options granted by overseas-listed companies may increase our administrative burden, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activity, or otherwise adversely affect us. If our shareholders who are PRC residents, or our PRC employees who are granted or exercise stock options, fail to make any required registrations or filings under such regulations, we may be unable to distribute profits and may become subject to liability under PRC laws. We may also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional equity compensation plans for our directors and employees and other parties under PRC law.

 

On October 21, 2005, the SAFE issued a Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents to Engage in Financing and Inbound Investment via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles, generally known in China as SAFE Circular 75, requiring PRC residents to register with the local SAFE branch before establishing or controlling any company outside of China, referred to in the notice as an “offshore special purpose company,” for the purpose of raising capital backed by assets or equities of PRC companies. PRC residents that are shareholders of offshore special purpose companies established before November 1, 2005 were required to register with the local SAFE branch before March 31, 2006. On July 4, 2014, the SAFE issued the Notice on the Administration of Foreign Exchange Involved in Overseas Investment, Financing and Return on Investment Conducted by PRC Residents via Special-Purpose Companies, or SAFE Circular 37, simultaneously repealing SAFE Circular 75. SAFE Circular 37 also requires PRC residents to register with relevant Foreign Exchange Bureau for foreign exchange registration of overseas investment before making a contribution to a special purpose company, or SPC, with legitimate holdings of domestic or overseas assets or interests. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations on Foreign Exchange—Foreign Exchange Registration of Offshore Investment by PRC Residents.”

 

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We have requested our beneficial owners who to our knowledge are PRC residents to make the necessary applications, filings and amendments as required under SAFE Circular 37 and other related rules. We attempt to comply, and attempt to ensure that our beneficial owners who are subject to these rules comply with the relevant requirements. However, we cannot assure you that all of our beneficial owners who are PRC residents will comply with our request to make or obtain any applicable registrations or comply with other requirements under SAFE Circular 37 or other related rules. The failure of these beneficial owners to timely amend their SAFE registrations pursuant to SAFE Circular 37 or the failure of future beneficial owners of our company who are PRC residents to comply with the registration procedures set forth in SAFE Circular 37 may subject such beneficial owners to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to our company or otherwise adversely affect our business. 

 

On December 25, 2006, the People’s Bank of China, or the PBOC, promulgated the Measures for the Administration of Individual Foreign Exchange, and on January 5, 2007, the SAFE further promulgated implementation rules for those measures. We refer to these regulations collectively as the Individual Foreign Exchange Rules. The Individual Foreign Exchange Rules became effective on February 1, 2007. According to these regulations, PRC citizens who are granted shares or share options by a company listed on an overseas stock market according to its employee share option or share incentive plan are required, through the PRC subsidiary of such overseas listed company or any other qualified PRC agent, to register with the SAFE and to complete certain other procedures related to the share option or other share incentive plan. Foreign exchange income received from the sale of shares or dividends distributed by the overseas listed company may be remitted into a foreign currency account of such PRC citizen or be exchanged into Renminbi. Our PRC citizen employees who have been granted share options became subject to the Individual Foreign Exchange Rules upon the listing of our ADSs on the Nasdaq.

 

On February 15, 2012, SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Issues Related to Foreign Exchange Administration in Domestic Individuals’ Participation in Equity Incentive Plans of Companies Listed Abroad, or the No. 7 Notice, which supersedes the Operation Rules on Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in Employee Stock Holding Plan or Stock Option Plan of Overseas-Listed Company, or the Stock Option Rule, in its entirety and immediately became effective upon circulation. No. 7 Notice covers all forms of equity compensation plans including employee stock ownership plans, employee stock option plans and other equity compensation plans permitted by relevant laws and regulations. According to the No. 7 Notice, all participants of such plans who are PRC citizens shall register with and obtain approvals from SAFE prior to their participation in the equity incentive plan of an overseas listed company. Domestic individuals, which include any directors, supervisors, senior managerial personnel or other employees of a domestic company who are PRC citizens (including citizens of Hong Kong SAR, Macau and Taiwan) or foreign individuals who consecutively reside in the territory of PRC for one year, who participate in the same equity incentive plan of an overseas listed company shall, through the domestic companies they serve, collectively entrust a domestic agency to handle issues like foreign exchange registration, account opening, funds transfer and remittance, and entrust an overseas institution to handle issues like an exercise of options, purchasing and sale of related stocks or equity, and funds transfer. As an overseas publicly listed company, we and our employees who have been granted stock options or any type of equity awards may be subject to the No. 7 Notice. If we or our employees who are subject to the No. 7 Notice fail to comply with these regulations, we may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, which will depend on how the SAFE interprets, applies and enforces Circular 7. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations on Foreign Exchange—SAFE Regulations on Employee Share Options.”

 

Fluctuation in the value of the RMB may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

 

The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and we cannot assure you that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or United States government policy may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar in the future.

 

Our revenues and costs are mostly denominated in RMB, and a significant portion of our financial assets are also denominated in RMB. We rely on dividends and other fees paid to us by our subsidiaries in China. Any significant appreciation or depreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar may affect our cash flows, revenues, earnings and financial position, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in U.S. dollars. For example, a further appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would make any new RMB-denominated investments or expenditures more costly to us, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into RMB for such purposes. An appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would also result in foreign currency translation losses for financial reporting purposes when we translate our U.S. dollar-denominated financial assets into the RMB, as the RMB is our reporting currency. Conversely, a significant depreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar may significantly reduce the U.S. dollar equivalent of our reported earnings, and may adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

 

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Certain PRC regulations could also make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions.

 

Among other things, Provisions on the Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investor, or the M&A Rule, also established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the Ministry of Commerce be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. In the future, we may grow our business in part by directly acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the new regulations to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the Ministry of Commerce, may prevent us from completing such transactions on a timely basis, or at all, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share. 

 

Risks Related to Our ADSs

 

If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, we and our investors may be deprived with the benefits of such inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in the ADSs to lose confidence in the audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

 

Our auditor, the independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included in our annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards.

 

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued a report to notify the SEC of its determination that the PCAOB was unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, including our auditor.

 

This lack of PCAOB inspections of audit work of any auditors performed in China before 2022, including that performed by Deloitte has made it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections.

 

On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB issued a report that vacated its December 16, 2021 determination and removed mainland China and Hong Kong SAR from the list of jurisdictions where it is unable to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms. However, if the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we and investors in our ADSs would be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in the ADSs to lose confidence in the audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

 

Our ADSs may be prohibited from trading in the United States under the HFCA Act in the future if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely auditors located in China. The delisting of the ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.

 

On December 18, 2020, the former U.S. president signed into law the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act. In essence, the HFCA Act requires the SEC to prohibit foreign companies from listing securities on U.S. securities exchanges if a company retains a foreign accounting firm that cannot be inspected by the PCAOB for three consecutive years, beginning in 2021. On December 2, 2021, the SEC finalized rules implementing the submission and disclosure requirements in the HFCA Act which would go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Registrar.

 

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In addition, on June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a bill which would reduce the number of consecutive non-inspection years required for triggering the prohibitions under the HFCA Act from three years to two. On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which contained, among other things, an identical provision. On December 29, 2022, the U. S. president signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which, among other things, amended the HFCA Act to reduce the number of consecutive non-inspection years required for triggering the prohibitions under the HFCA Act from three years to two. Therefore, pursuant to the HFCA Act, if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspections by the PCAOB for two consecutive years, the SEC will prohibit our shares or ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States. 

 

On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB issued the PCAOB Determinations that they were unable to inspect or investigate completely PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and in Hong Kong SAR. The report sets forth lists identifying the registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, respectively, that the PCAOB was unable to inspect or investigate completely, and our auditor, Deloitte, was on such lists.

 

On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB signed a Statement of Protocol with the CSRC and Ministry of Finance, taking the first step toward opening access for the PCAOB to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR completely, consistent with U.S. law. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB announced that it has secured complete access to inspect and investigate completely PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR. The PCAOB also vacated its previous determinations issued in December 2021. Therefore, our auditor is currently able to be fully inspected and investigated by the PCAOB. Accordingly, until such time as the PCAOB issues any new determination, our securities are not subject to a trading prohibition under the HFCA Act.

 

Each year, the PCAOB determines whether it can inspect and investigate completely audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, among other jurisdictions. If the PCAOB determines in the future that it no longer has full access to inspect and investigate completely accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR and we use an accounting firm headquartered in one of these jurisdictions to issue an audit report on our financial statements filed with the SEC, we would be identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer following the filing of the annual report on Form 20-F for the relevant fiscal year. In accordance with the HFCA Act, our securities would be prohibited from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the United States if we are identified as a Commission-Identified Issuer for two consecutive years in the future. If our shares and ADSs are prohibited from trading in the United States, there is no certainty that we will be able to list on a non-U.S. exchange or that a market for our shares will develop outside of the United States. The prospect and implications of possible regulation on this subject, in addition to the prevailing requirements of the HFCA Act, are uncertain. Such uncertainty could cause the market price of our ADSs to be materially and adversely affected, and our securities could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” earlier than would be required by the HFCA Act as it currently provides. If our securities are unable to be listed on another securities exchange by then, such a delisting would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with a potential delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ADSs. Also, such a prohibition would significantly affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and prospects.

 

The trading price of our ADSs may be volatile.

 

The trading price of our ADSs may be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation in the market prices or the underperformance or deteriorating financial results of other listed companies based in China. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of other Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings, may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. U.S. government’s recent policies concerning Chinese companies listed in the U.S. may also cause great uncertainty in the listing status of companies like us and result in fluctuation in the trading rice of our ADSs. In addition, securities markets may from time to time experience significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to our operating performance, which may have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs.

 

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In addition to the above factors, the price and trading volume of our ADSs may be highly volatile due to multiple factors, including the following:

 

  changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other insurance intermediaries;

 

  actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

  changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;

 

  conditions in the Chinese insurance industry;

 

  announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures, capital raisings or capital commitments;

 

  additions to or departures of our senior management;

 

  fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar or other foreign currencies;

 

  potential litigation or administrative investigations;

 

  sales or perceived potential sales of additional ordinary shares or ADSs; and

 

  general economic or political conditions in China and abroad.

  

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and trading price of our ADSs. In addition, the stock market has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that are unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies and industries.

 

The volatility resulting from any of the above factors may affect the price at which you could sell the ADSs.

 

We may need additional capital, and the sale of additional ADSs or other equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders.

 

We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for the foreseeable future. We may, however, require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If these resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

 

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ordinary shares, ADSs or other equity securities in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

 

Additional sales of our ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. If any existing shareholder or shareholders sell a substantial amount of ordinary shares in the form of ADSs, the market price of our ADSs could decline. In addition, we may issue additional ordinary shares as considerations for future acquisitions. If we do so, your ownership interests in our company would be diluted and this in turn could have an adverse effect on the price of our ADSs.

 

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Our corporate actions are substantially controlled by principal shareholders and our officers, directors and.

 

As of March 31, 2024, our principal shareholder Highest Performances Holdings Inc., or HPH, beneficially owned approximately 50.1% of our outstanding shares. It could exert substantial influence over matters requiring approval by our shareholders, including electing directors and approving mergers or other business combination transactions, and it may not act in the best interests of other noncontrolling shareholders. This concentration of our share ownership also may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders.

 

We cannot guarantee that any share repurchase plan will be fully consummated or that any share repurchase plan will enhance long-term shareholder value, and share repurchases could increase the volatility of the trading price of the ADSs and could diminish our cash reserves.

 

On December 20, 2022, our board of directors announced a share repurchase program which authorized us to repurchase up to US$20 million of our American depositary shares (“ADS”) from time to time. As of March 31, 2024, we had repurchased an aggregate of 726,616 ADSs, at an average price of approximately US$7.4066 per ADS for a total amount of approximately US$5.4 million under this share repurchase program.

 

Our board of directors also has the discretion to authorize additional share repurchase plans in the future. The share repurchase plans do not obligate us to repurchase any specific dollar amount or to acquire any specific number of ADSs and/or shares. We cannot guarantee that any share repurchase plan will enhance long-term shareholder value. The share repurchase plans could increase the volatility of the trading price of the ADSs and may be suspended or terminated at any time. Furthermore, share repurchases could diminish our cash reserves.

  

Holders of our ADSs may have fewer rights than holders of our ordinary shares and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

 

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our registered shareholders. The holders of our ADSs will not have any direct right to attend general meetings of our shareholders or to directly cast any votes at such meetings. The holders of our ADSs will only be able to exercise the voting rights which are carried by the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs indirectly by giving voting instructions to the depositary in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement (“unrestricted deposit agreement”), and the deposit agreement for restricted securities (as defined below) (each also referred to as a “deposit agreement”, and together with the “deposit agreements”). Under the deposit agreements, the holders of our ADSs may vote only by giving voting instructions to the depositary. Upon receipt of the voting instructions from the holders of our ADSs, the depositary will vote the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs in accordance with these instructions. The holders of our ADSs will not be able to directly exercise their right to vote with respect to the underlying ordinary shares unless they withdraw such shares and become the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date for the general meeting. Under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required to be given by our company to our registered shareholders to convene a general meeting is fourteen calendar days. When a general meeting is convened, the holders of our ADSs may not receive sufficient advance notice of the meeting to permit the holders of our ADSs to withdraw the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs and become the registered holder of such shares to allow the holders of our ADSs to attend the general meeting and to cast their vote directly with respect to any specific matter or resolution to be considered and voted upon at the general meeting. Furthermore, under our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, for the purposes of determining those shareholders who are entitled to attend and vote at any general meeting, our directors may close our register of members and/or fix in advance a record date for such meeting, and such closure of our register of members or the setting of such a record date may prevent the holders of our ADSs from withdrawing the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs and becoming the registered holder of such shares prior to the record date, so that they would not be able to attend the general meeting or to vote directly. If we ask for their instructions, the depositary will notify the holders of our ADSs of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to them. We cannot assure the holders of our ADSs that they will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that they can instruct the depositary to vote the ordinary shares underlying their ADSs. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out the voting instructions of the holders of our ADSs. This means that the holders of our ADSs may not be able to exercise their right to direct how the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs are voted and they may have no legal remedy if the underlying ordinary shares represented by their ADSs are not voted as they requested. In addition, in their capacity as an ADS holder, the holders of our ADSs will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting. Furthermore, you may not receive voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote.

 

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Except as described in this annual report and in the deposit agreement, holders of our ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the shares evidenced by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of ADSs may instruct the depositary to exercise the voting rights attached to the shares represented by the ADSs. If no instructions are received by the depositary on or before a date established by the depositary, the depositary shall deem the holders to have instructed it to give a discretionary proxy to a person designated by us to exercise their voting rights. You may not receive voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote.

 

Right of holders of our ADSs to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to their holdings.

 

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to holders of our ADSs in the United States unless we register both the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Under the deposit agreements, the depositary will not make rights available to holders of our ADSs unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act or exempt from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective and we may not be able to establish a necessary exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, holders of our ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in their holdings.

 

Holders of our restricted ADSs may be subject to limitations on transfer of their ADSs.

 

Restricted ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of restricted ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deems it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreements, or for any other reason.

 

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

 

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. We conduct our operations outside the United States and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. In addition, substantially all of our directors and officers are nationals or residents of jurisdictions other than the United States and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for our shareholders to bring an action against us or against them in the United States in the event that our shareholders believe that their rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Even if our shareholders are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands, the PRC or other relevant jurisdictions may render our shareholders unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

 

Since we are a Cayman Islands company, the rights of our shareholders may be more limited than those of shareholders of a company organized in the United States.

 

Under the laws of some jurisdictions in the United States, majority and controlling shareholders generally have certain fiduciary responsibilities to the minority shareholders. Shareholder action must be taken in good faith, and actions by controlling shareholders which are obviously unreasonable may be declared null and void. Cayman Island law protecting the interests of minority shareholders may not be as protective in all circumstances as the law protecting minority shareholders in some U.S. jurisdictions. In addition, the circumstances in which a shareholder of a Cayman Islands company may sue the company derivatively, and the procedures and defenses that may be available to the company, may result in the rights of shareholders of a Cayman Islands company being more limited than those of shareholders of a company organized in the United States.

 

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Furthermore, our directors have the power to take certain actions without shareholder approval which would require shareholder approval under the laws of most U.S. jurisdictions. The directors of a Cayman Islands company, without shareholder approval, may implement a sale of any assets, property, part of the business, or securities of the company. Our ability to create and issue new classes or series of shares without shareholder approval could have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in control of our Company without any further action by our shareholders, including a tender offer to purchase our ordinary shares at a premium over prevailing market prices.

 

Our articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could discourage a third party from acquiring us, which could limit our shareholders’ opportunity to sell their shares, including ordinary shares represented by our ADSs, at a premium.

 

Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contain provisions which have the potential to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. For example, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges and other rights, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise, at such time and on such terms as they may think appropriate. In the event these preferred shares have better voting rights than our ordinary shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise, they could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

 

You may have to rely primarily on price appreciation of our ADSs for any return on your investment.

 

Our board of directors has discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to applicable laws. Although our board of directors has announced a policy to declare and pay dividends on a quarterly basis, the amount and form of future dividends will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend primarily upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

 

As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from certain disclosure requirements under the Exchange Act, which may afford less protection to our shareholders than they would enjoy if we were a domestic U.S. company.

 

As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from, among other things, the rules prescribing the furnishing and content of proxy statements under the Exchange Act. In addition, our executive officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit and recovery provisions contained in Section 16 of the Exchange Act. We are also not required under the Exchange Act to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or as promptly as domestic U.S. companies with securities registered under the Exchange Act although we have voluntarily filed and will continue to file periodic reports and financial statements. As a result, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they would under the Exchange Act rules applicable to domestic U.S. companies.

 

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through the U.S. federal courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law, conduct substantially all of our operations in China and the majority of our officers reside outside the United States.

 

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and conduct substantially all of our operations in China through our subsidiaries in China. Most of our officers reside outside the United States and some or all of the assets of those persons are located outside of the United States. The legal system in Cayman, the PRC or other relevant jurisdictions may not afford our shareholders the same level of protection as the legal system in the United States would. For instance, the Securities Laws of the PRC regulates only security issuances and trading outside of the PRC to the extent that such issuance and trading disrupts domestic markets and negatively affects the interest of domestic investors in the PRC. As such, investors in the United States may not be able to file a lawsuit under the Securities Law in the PRC. Even if you are successful in bringing an action in the PRC, shareholder claims that are common in the United States, including class action suits securities law and fraud claims, may be difficult or impossible to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in the PRC. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the Cayman Islands or in China in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind outside the Cayman Islands or China, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to effect service of process upon, or to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

 

The SEC, U.S. Department of Justice, or the DOJ, and other relevant regulatory authorities in the United States play vital roles in enforcing laws and regulations that protect securities investors. These U.S. authorities may face significant legal and other obstacles to obtaining information needed for investigations or litigation. Further, these U.S. authorities may have substantial difficulties in bringing and enforcing actions against non-U.S. companies and non-U.S. persons, including company directors and officers, which will further limit protections available to our shareholders. According to the Securities Laws of the PRC, without the approval of securities regulators and other actors within the Chinese government, no entity or individual in China may provide documents and information relating to securities business activities to overseas regulators. In addition, local authorities in Cayman, the PRC or other relevant jurisdictions often are constrained in their ability to assist U.S. authorities and overseas investors more generally. There are also legal or other obstacles to seeking access to funds in a foreign country.

  

There is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although a judgment obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States courts will be recognized and enforced in the courts of the Cayman Islands at common law, without any re-examination of the merits of the underlying dispute, by an action commenced on the foreign judgment debt in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, provided such judgment: (a) is given by a foreign court of competent jurisdiction, (b) imposes on the judgment debtor a liability to pay a liquidated sum for which the judgment has been given, (c) is final, (d) is not in respect of taxes, a fine, or a penalty, and (d) was not obtained in a manner and is not of a kind the enforcement of which is contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands. However, the Cayman Islands courts are unlikely to enforce a judgment obtained from the U.S. courts under civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities law if such judgment is determined by the courts of the Cayman Islands to give rise to obligations to make payments that are penal or punitive in nature. A Cayman Islands court may stay enforcement proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere. A judgment of a court of another jurisdiction may be reciprocally recognized or enforced if the jurisdiction has a treaty with China or if judgments of the PRC courts have been recognized before in that jurisdiction, subject to the satisfaction of other requirements. However, China does not have treaties providing for the reciprocal enforcement of judgments of courts with Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and most other Western countries.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association and by the Companies Act (As Revised) (the “Companies Act”) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take legal action against our directors and us, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedents in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States, and provides significantly less protection to investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have stood to initiate a shareholder derivative action before the federal courts of the United States.

 

As a result of all of the above, our investors may have more difficulty in protecting their interests through actions against our management, directors or major shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States.

  

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We may be a passive foreign investment company for United States federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse United States federal income tax consequences to United States Holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

Based on the market price of our ADSs, the value of our assets, and the composition of our income and assets, we believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes for our taxable year ended December 31, 2023, however there can be no assurance to this regard. We believe we were also a PFIC for our taxable years ended December 31, 2022, December 31, 2017 and prior years. In addition, we believe that it is likely that one or more of our subsidiaries were also PFICs for such years. A non-United States corporation will be a PFIC for United States federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if, applying applicable look-through rules, either (1) at least 75% of our gross income for such year is passive income or (2) at least 50% of the value of our assets (generally determined based on an average of the quarterly values of the assets) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income. We must make a separate determination after the close of each taxable year as to whether we were a PFIC for that year.

 

Because the value of our assets for purposes of the PFIC test will generally be determined by reference to the market price of our ADSs or ordinary shares, our PFIC status will depend in large part on the market price of the ADSs or ordinary shares, which may fluctuate significantly. The determination of whether we will be a PFIC for any taxable year may also depend in part upon the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles not reflected on our balance sheet (which may depend upon the market price of our ADSs or ordinary shares from time to time, which may fluctuate significantly) and also may be affected by how, and how quickly, we spend our liquid assets and the cash we generate from our operations and raise in any offering. Unless the market price of our ADSs increases or we reduce the amount of cash, short term investments and other passive assets we hold sufficiently from current levels, we are likely to remain a PFIC for future taxable years. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, does not issue rulings with respect to PFIC status, and we cannot assure you that the IRS, or a court, will agree with any determination we make.

 

Because we believe we were a PFIC for the taxable year ended December 31, 2023 (and December 31, 2022, December 31, 2017 and prior years), United States Holders (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation”) of our ADSs or ordinary shares generally will be subject to special and adverse tax rules with respect to any “excess distribution” received from us and any gain from a sale or other disposition of the ADSs or ordinary shares. See “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation — Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

 

Item 4. Information on the Company

 

A. History and Development of the Company

 

We started our operation in 1999 through Guangzhou Nanyun Car Rental Services Co., Ltd. and Guangdong Nanfeng Automobile Association Co., Ltd. In 2001, we formed China United Financial Services Holdings Limited, or China United Financial Services, a British Virgin Islands company, as the offshore holding company of our PRC subsidiaries. In June 2004, CISG Holdings Ltd., or CISG Holdings was incorporated in British Virgin Islands and became our holding company through share exchanges with China United Financial Services.

  

In anticipation of our initial public offering, we incorporated CNinsure Inc. in the Cayman Islands in April 2007. After a series of restructuring transactions, CNinsure Inc. became the ultimate holding company of our group. On December 6, 2016, our shareholders approved the change of our company name from CNinsure Inc. to Fanhua Inc.

 

On October 31, 2007, we listed our ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “CISG.” We and certain selling shareholders of our company completed the initial public offering of 13,526,773 ADSs, each representing 20 ordinary shares, on November 5, 2007. In connection with the name change on December 6, 2016, our ticker symbol was simultaneously changed to “FANH”.

 

In October 2012, we obtained license approval from the then CIRC to establish an insurance sales service group company and commenced a series of restructuring, which resulted in Fanhua Insurance Sales Service Group Company Limited (previously known as Shenzhen Nanfeng Investment Co., Ltd.), or Fanhua Group Company, our wholly-owned subsidiary in the PRC, becoming the onshore holding company of our PRC operating entities. As a result, we currently conduct our business in China primarily through Fanhua Group Company and its subsidiaries and a small part of our business through the consolidated VIEs in China.

 

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We began our insurance intermediary business in 1999 by distributing auto insurance products and auto loans on an ancillary basis and expanded our product offerings to other property and casualty insurance products in 2002. We commenced life insurance products distribution in 2006 and began to offer claims adjusting services in 2008. In 2010, we established an insurance brokerage business unit to expand our product offerings from retail to commercial lines. In 2017, we divested our P&C insurance agency operations and our insurance brokerage segment to strategically focus on life insurance distribution. In 2023, we initiated family office business by establishing Fanhua Puyi Family Office (Beijing) Co., Ltd, which subsequently acquired Puyi Family Office (Chengdu) Enterprises Management Consulting Co., Ltd. from our shareholder HPH. In 2023, we officially launched our overseas business expansion by establishing two joint ventures companies in Hong Kong SAR, namely Brave Moon Broker Ltd., and Avantech Solutions Limited and acquiring an insurance broker license in Hong Kong SAR. In late 2023, we resumed provision of insurance brokerage services to corporate clients.

 

We have also made investments in complementary business areas, such as wealth management. We currently own a 15.4% equity interest in Fanhua Puyi Fund Sales Co., Ltd. (“Puyi Fund”), a leading fund distribution company in China.

 

Our principal executive offices are located at 60/F, Pearl River Tower, No. 15 West Zhujiang Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510623, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86-20-8388-6888. Our registered office is at the offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands.

 

The SEC maintains a web site at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC using its EDGAR system. You can also find information on our website http://ir.fanhgroup.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this annual report.

 

Capital Expenditure

 

Our capital expenditures have been used primarily to develop or enhance our technological infrastructure and enhance trainings to improve the professional capabilities of our sales force. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

 

B. Business Overview

 

Overview

 

We are a leading independent financial services provider in China with strong technology capabilities and a commitment to empowering financial advisors and fostering sustained value creation for customers. Our core focus lies in delivering family asset management solutions that span the entirety of our clients’ life stages, coupled with a unified platform catering to independent insurance/financial advisors and sales organizations.

 

With a strategic emphasis on long-term life insurance products, our diverse portfolio is disseminated through an extensive network of registered 81,171 insurance agents nationwide, supported by an in-house team of over 2,310 claims adjustors as of March 31, 2024.

 

In addition to our core offerings, we also provide an array of value-added services tailored to the needs of mass affluent and high-net-worth individuals, including trust consulting, healthcare solutions, wealth management advisory, elite education, and overseas asset diversification, among others.

 

Driven by a commitment to empowering financial advisors and driving sustained value for clients, we are dedicated to furnishing advisors with the requisite tools, training and resources to optimize their practice. Our proprietary digital suite encompasses end-to-end business management solutions, equipped with robust data analytics capabilities, thereby enhancing operational efficiency, productivity, and service delivery for our advisors.

 

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We are dedicated to creating an inclusive and collaborative platform, fostering success for a myriad of users, including independent advisors and insurance sales entities. Through this open ecosystem, we extend comprehensive business solutions encompassing compliance services, IT infrastructure, digital innovations, diverse product offerings, professional training, and capital support, among others. As of December 31, 2023, our platform has connected with 854 external institutional partners, enabling expanded customer outreach in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

 

We also operate an online insurance platform, www.baoxian.com, to provide customers with a seamless end-to-end online shopping experience for insurance, from policy comparison and live consultation to policy issuance and claims processing. A spectrum of insurance products, including critical illness, term life, accident, medical, travel, and homeowner coverage, is readily accessible through this platform.

 

Given China’s aging demographic and burgeoning middle class, there exists a surging demand for elderly care and legacy planning services, presenting immense growth prospects within the life insurance sector and independent financial services sector. Armed with a strong brand presence, established insurer relationships, expansive distribution channels, and cutting-edge technology, we are poised to capitalize on industry growth and transformation. Our strategic focus remains on elevating our sales force professionalism, bolstering digital capabilities, and broadening platform accessibility and pursuing market consolidation to capitalize on market opportunities.

 

As of March 31, 2024, we, through Fanhua Group Company and contractual arrangements, controlled twelves insurance intermediary companies in mainland China, including two insurance agencies with national operating licenses, six regional agencies, two insurance brokerage firms and two claims adjusting firms. We also controlled majority interests in two insurance intermediary companies and one insurance technology company in Hong Kong SAR. In addition, we owned a 15.4% equity interest in Fanhua Puyi Fund Sales Co., Ltd. (“Puyi Fund”), a leading fund distribution company in China.

 

Digital Technologies

 

Our platform leverages advanced AI models to integrate a range of digital operational tools, including digitization and intelligent features. It seamlessly connects business processes and data flows, comprehensive empowering sales professionals for business growth. The major digital tools that we develop for sales professionals are as follows:

 

  FA App - an all-in-one insurance sales and service platform that we develop for our sales agents, which allows them to manage their book of insurance business on their fingertips, covering all aspects of the business process from insurance product purchase, team management, agent recruitment, customer engagement, customer service to e-learning. The platform offers substantially all of our insurance products including long-term life and health insurance, accident insurance, travel insurance, and standard medical insurance products. It is available in mobile application and WeChat official account versions and accessible through Fanhua WeCom.

 

  Fanhua RONS Assistant Digital Operating Platform, or RONS DOP —it is a digital marketing platform that we launched in June 2021 for our agents, aiming at empowering them in customer acquisition and relationship maintenance. Key features include AI Chatbot, Digital Avatar Creator, Intelligent Recommendation System, powered by Large Language Model, AI-generated Content Algorithm and Intelligent Algorithm, which enable customer engagement in a highly efficient manner. It also provides our sales professionals with various educational content in the form of daily news, articles, posters, videos which can be circulated to potential customers through social media, aiming at enhancing customers’ insurance awareness and deepening their understanding of insurance products. It also enables agents to gain better insights into customer needs through behavior tracking and automated tagging. In addition, it provides convenient access to Fanhua RONS livestreaming platform for resourceful online training courses. The platform is accessible through WeChat public account and Fanhua’s FA App and WeCom.

 

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  Fanhua RONS Guanjia –– it is a customer service platform that we launched in June 2021 to directly connect with our customers, through which they can access various insurance services including policy inquiry, policy custody, asset custody, risk assessment, and claims settlement assistance. Service representatives will also be available to customers for exclusive services on a one-on-one basis. The platform is accessible primarily through its WeChat official account and FA App.

 

  Fanhua Policy Escrow System – Launched in 2022, our Policy Escrow system offers comprehensive policy management services, including meticulous risk analysis and personalized planning. Our clients and their family members can benefit from electronic storage, online easy access and various self-service features for easy policy management including coverage review, payment schedules, and renewal reminders. Integrated AI analysis generates concise reports on insurance coverage, while our certified policy consultants provide personalized, one-on-one assistance, guiding clients through policy organization, risk analysis and optimization strategies.

 

  Fanhua WeCom – Launched in June 2021, other than various office supporting solutions, it enables our agents to directly interact with their existing and potential customers in highly efficient manner, with easy access to various supportive tools including knowledge bank, FAQ scripts, and a wide variety of marketing materials.

 

Segment Information

 

As of December 31, 2023, we operated two segments: (1) the insurance agency segment, which mainly consists of providing agency services for distributing life insurance products and non-life insurance products on behalf of insurance companies, and (2) the claims adjusting segment, which consists of providing pre-underwriting survey services, claims adjusting services, disposal of residual value services, loading and unloading supervision services, and consulting services.

 

Insurance Agency Segment

 

Our insurance agency segment accounted for 85.4% and 86.3% of our net revenues in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Revenue from this segment is derived from two broad categories of insurance products: (i) life and health insurance products, and (ii) non-life insurance products (previously categorized as property and casualty insurance products), both primarily focused on meeting the insurance needs of individuals.

 

Life and Health Insurance Products

 

Our life and health insurance business accounted for 81.1% of our net revenues in 2023. We expect the sale of life insurance products to be the major source of our revenue in the next several years. The life and health insurance products we distribute can be broadly classified into the categories set forth below. Due to constant product innovation by insurance companies, some of the insurance products we distribute combine features of one or more of the categories listed below:

 

  Individual Whole Life Insurance. The individual whole life insurance products we distribute provide insurance coverage for the insured person’s entire life in exchange for the periodic payment of fixed premiums over a pre-determined period, generally ranging from five to 20 years, or until the insured reaches a certain age. The face amount plus accumulated interest is paid upon the death of the insured.

 

  Individual Health Insurance. The individual health insurance products we distribute primarily consist of critical illness insurance products, which provide guaranteed benefits when the insured is diagnosed with specified serious illnesses, and medical insurance products, which provide conditional reimbursement for medical expenses during the coverage period. In return, the insured makes periodic payments of premiums over a pre-determined period.

 

  Individual Annuity. The individual annuity products we distribute generally provide annual benefit payments after the insured attains a certain age, or for a fixed time period, and provide a lump sum payment at the end of the coverage period. In addition, the beneficiary designated in the annuity contract will receive guaranteed benefits upon the death of the insured during the coverage period. In return, the purchaser of the annuity products makes periodic payments of premiums during a pre-determined accumulation period.

 

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  Individual Term Life Insurance. The individual term life insurance products we distribute provide insurance coverage for the insured for a specified time period or until the attainment of a certain age, in return for the periodic payment of fixed premiums over a pre-determined period, generally ranging from five to 20 years. Term life insurance policies generally expire without value if the insured survives the coverage period.

 

  Individual Endowment Life Insurance. The individual endowment products we distribute generally provide insurance coverage for the insured for a specified time period and maturity benefits if the insured reaches a specified age. The individual endowment products we distribute also provide to a beneficiary designated by the insured guaranteed benefits upon the death of the insured within the coverage period. In return, the insured makes periodic payments of premiums over a pre-determined period, generally ranging from five to 25 years.

 

  Participating Insurance. The participating insurance products we distribute not only provide insurance coverage but also pay dividends generated from the profits of the insurance company providing the policy. The dividends are typically paid on an annual basis over the life of the policy. In return, the insured makes periodic payments of premiums over a pre-determined period, generally ranging from five to 25 years.

  

The life insurance products we distributed in 2023 were primarily underwritten by Sinatay, Aeon Life Insurance Company Limited, or Aeon, Lian, Huaxia, and Aviva-Cofco Insurance Company Limited or Aviva-Cofco.

 

Non-Life Insurance Products

 

Our non-life insurance business accounted for 5.2% of our net revenues in 2023, representing insurance products we distributed through Baowang and our brokerage division. Our main non-life insurance product in terms of net revenues contribution in 2023 is individual accident insurance and indemnity medical insurance which we distribute through Baowang. We also offer lifestyle insurance such as travel insurance, homeowner insurance, and other innovative products on Baowang. In addition, we have started to offer certain long-term life and health insurance products specifically designed for internet distribution channels since 2019. Net revenues generated from such long-term insurance products were included in the net revenues of our life insurance agency segment. The major insurance products we offer or facilitate to individual customers through Baowang can be further classified into the following categories:

 

  Individual Accident Insurance. The individual accident insurance products we distribute generally provide a guaranteed benefit during the coverage period, which is usually one year or a shorter period, in the event of death or disability of the insured as a result of an accident, or a reimbursement of medical expenses to the insured in connection with an accident. These products typically require only a single premium payment for each coverage period. Because most of the individual accident insurance products we distribute are underwritten by property and casualty insurance companies, we classify individual accident insurance products as property and casualty insurance products.

  

  Travel Insurance. The travel insurance products we distribute are short-term insurance providing guaranteed benefit in the event of death or disability and covering travel-related emergencies and losses, either within one’s own country, or internationally. These products typically require only a single premium payment for each coverage period.

 

  Homeowner Insurance. The homeowner insurance products we distribute primarily cover damages to the insured house, along with furniture and household electrical appliance in the house caused by a number of incidents such as fire, flood and explosion.

 

  Indemnity medical insurance. The indemnity medical insurance products we facilitate typically have a one-year term and provide conditional reimbursement for medical and surgical expenses during the coverage period. These products typically require only a single premium payment for each coverage period. Because most of these medical insurance products we distribute are underwritten by property and casualty insurance companies, we classify indemnity medical products as property and casualty insurance products.

 

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We also market and sell commercial lines of property insurance products, group life insurance products, and liability insurance products to corporate clients, through one of our brokerage firms. It also offers risk management services to enterprises in various industries and reinsurance brokerage services to insurance companies. The insurance products that our insurance brokerage firm provides can be broadly classified into the categories set forth below.

 

Commercial Property Insurance. The commercial property insurance products we distribute include basic, comprehensive and all risk policies. Basic commercial property insurance policies generally cover damage to the insured property caused by fire, explosion and thunder and lightning. Comprehensive commercial property insurance policies generally cover damage to the insured property caused by fire, explosion and certain natural disasters. All risk commercial property insurance policies cover all causes of damage to the insured property not specifically excluded from the policies.

 

Cargo Insurance. The cargo insurance products we distribute cover damage to or loss of goods in transit by sea, land or air.

 

Hull Insurance. The hull insurance products we distribute cover vessels against losses, liabilities and expenses caused by natural calamities, negligence of crew members and marine accidents, as well as collision liability.

 

Liability Insurance. The liability insurance products we distribute are primarily product liability, employer’s liability, public liability and professional liability insurance products. These products generally cover losses to third parties due to the misconduct or negligence of the insured party, but exclude losses due to fraud or the willful misconduct of the insured party.

 

Construction and Erection Insurance. The construction and erection insurance products we distribute cover property damages and personal injury losses caused by natural disasters and accidents in connection with construction and erection projects in China and abroad.

 

Extended Warranty Insurance. The extended warranty insurance products we distribute provide coverage for expenses associated with any repair or replacement of the sold items, such as an electrical appliance or auto vehicle, after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

 

We primarily partnered with Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance Company Limited, or Zhong An, Ping An Property and Casualty Insurance Company Limited, or Ping An, Ping An Health Insurance Company Limited, China Pacific Property and Casualty Insurance Company Limited, or China Pacific, AXA Tianping Property and Casualty Insurance Company Limited for the distribution of non-life insurance products in 2023.

  

Claims Adjusting Segment

 

Total net revenues derived from our claims adjusting segment accounted for 13.7% of our total net revenues in 2023. We offer the following insurance claims adjusting services:

 

  Pre-underwriting Survey. Before an insurance policy is sold, we conduct a survey of the item to be insured to assess its current value and help our clients determine the insurable value and the amount to be insured. We also help our clients assess the underwriting risk with respect to the item to be insured through surveys, appraisals and analysis.

 

  Claims Adjusting. When an accident involving the insured subject matter has occurred, we conduct an onsite survey to determine the cause of the accident and assess damage. We then determine the extent of the loss to the insured subject matter and prepare and submit a report to the insurance company summarizing our preliminary findings. Upon conclusion of the case, we prepare and submit a detailed report to the insurance company setting forth details of the accident, cause of the loss, details of the loss, adjustment and determination of loss, an indemnity proposal and, where appropriate, a request for payment.

 

  Disposal of Residual Value. In the course of providing claims adjusting services, we also can appraise the residual value of the insured property and offer suggestions on the disposal of such property. Upon appointment by the insurance company, we handle the actual disposal of the insured property through auction, discounted sale, lease or other means.

 

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  Loading and Unloading Supervision. Upon appointment by ship owners, shippers, consignees or insurance companies, we can monitor and record the loading and unloading processes of specific cargos.

 

  Consulting Services. We provide consulting services to both the insured and the insurance companies on risk assessment and management, disaster and damage prevention, investigation, and loss assessment.

 

We primarily provided claims adjusting services to Ping An, China Pacific, Shanghai Nuanwa Technology Co., Ltd., an affiliate of Zhong An, Ping An Health Insurance Co., Ltd., China Life Property and Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. in 2023.

 

Insurance + Services

 

In addition to insurance products and claims adjusting services, we connect with top-notch service providers to provide a range of comprehensive value-added services that cater to every stage of a customer’s life.

 

Elderly Care Services:

 

Through our wholly-owned subsidiary Fanhua Blueplus Health Management Co., Ltd, or Fanhua Blueplus, a healthcare and elderly care service aggregator, we integrate high-quality resources across the elderly care industry, catering to customers’ needs from retirement to end-of-life scenarios. Our aim is to help customers achieve happier, longer, and more dignified lives.

 

Healthcare Services:

 

Through Fanhua Blueplus, we connect with premium healthcare industry resources, covering the entire medical process and health scenarios across customers’ lifetimes. Our services include a comprehensive list from prevention to treatment, offering carefully selected products and services encompassing health management, medical treatment, medication, nursing, rehabilitation, and more, ensuring customers enjoy top-quality health management services.

 

Family Governance Services

 

Through our wholly-owned subsidiary Fanhua Puyi Family Office and its subsidiary, we started to offer family office services in late 2023 to tap into the significant business potential stemming from the growing demand for comprehensive wealth management services among affluent and high net worth families. We are dedicated to fostering the long-term growth of client family assets and ensuring the intergenerational transfer of wealth, by bringing together a team of specialists across finance, trusts, law, and taxation to offer tailored advice and comprehensive services to affluent and high net worth families. Our offerings encompass a wide array of services including trust consulting services, elite education opportunities, overseas asset allocation services.

 

Online Mutual Aid Platform

 

In line with our commitment to be socially responsible, in 2014, we launched an online mutual aid platform called eHuzhu (www.ehuzhu.com). The platform provides people with access to alternative risk-protection programs at more affordable costs, especially for the lower-income group. eHuzhu primarily offers programs that provide mutual aid for cancer and accidental death. Users join as members with a small amount of deposits which will be used to evenly contribute to the medical costs or death benefits of the claimants, in exchange for benefits contributed by the rest of the members when in need. As of March 31, 2024, eHuzhu had over 1.5million outstanding paying members, assisting 13,984 families to raise approximately RMB1.4 billion funds to get through tough times. The platform is accessible primarily through its WeChat official account.  

 

In addition, eHuzhu organized a variety of public charity activities focusing on care for breast cancer, veterans and COVID-19 patients, book donations for children and so on. eHuzhu has also set up “Mutual Aid Villages” across the country to lower the medical burden of people in poverty-stricken areas.

 

In order to create more value for its members, eHuzhu has been offering value-added medical and health services on its platform since 2022, through which its members can access a variety of services including health consultation, medical treatment assistance and medicine delivery.

 

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Recent Developments

 

Proposed Investment from White Group

 

On February 2, 2024, we entered into a framework agreement with White Group, pursuant to which White Group and its partners intend to invest up to US$500 million in the Company. On February 20, 2024, we entered into the first supplementary agreement with White Group to the framework agreement, pursuant to which White Group intends to inject assets into the Company to accelerate its artificial intelligence development and international expansion in addition to the proposed investment. Both parties also intend to explore investments in certain assets that are complementary to our business, technologies and services. As of the date of this annual report, the parties are negotiating the details of the proposed investment.

 

Share Exchange with HPH

 

On December 22, 2023, we entered into a share repurchase agreement with HPH to sell all of our 4.46% equity interests in HPH, or 4,033,600 ordinary shares of HPH, back to HPH. Concurrently, we agreed to acquire, through our wholly-owned subsidiary, 15.41% equity interests in Puyi Fund, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HPH, in exchange of the aforementioned 4,033,600 ordinary shares of HPH and an additional cash consideration of approximately RMB10.5 million. The transactions were closed on December 31, 2023.

 

Acquisitions and Disposals in 2023 

 

(a) Acquisition of Zhongrong

 

On January 3, 2023, we entered into definitive agreements (“Share Purchase Agreement”) with the existing shareholders of Zhongrong Smart Finance Information Technology Co., Ltd. (“Zhongrong”), to acquire 57.73% of the equity interests of Zhongrong. In connection with the acquisition, 61,853,580 ordinary shares of the Company were issued to these shareholders in March 2023. The consideration, adjustable based on the achievement of certain performance targets in the next three years by Zhongrong, is subject to a lock-up period of three years and will be released from lock-up in two batches after 2025. On August 31, 2023, one former shareholder of Zhongrong (“Such Shareholder”) that previously transferred its owned 1.56% equity interests in Zhongrong in exchange for its equity interests of 0.3% in the Company, entered into a supplemental agreement with us to modify the payment terms as stated in the Share Purchase Agreement from payment in newly-issued ordinary shares of the Company to payment in cash as consideration. As a result, 3,591,780 ordinary shares previously issued to Such Shareholder were subsequently repurchased by the Company in December 2023.

 

(b) Acquisition and Termination of Acquisition of Wuhan Taiping 

 

On February 8, 2023, we entered into a definitive agreement with the existing shareholder of Wuhan Taiping Online Insurance Agency Co., Ltd. (“Taiping”), to acquire 51% of the equity interests of Taiping. In connection with the acquisition, 9,107,140 ordinary shares of the Company were issued to the shareholder of Taiping in March 2023. As Taiping failed to meet certain performance targets, 9,107,140 previously issued ordinary shares were repurchased by the Company and the Company surrendered the acquired 51% equity interests of Taiping, pursuant to a supplementary agreement entered on November 30, 2023.

 

(c) Acquisition of Zhongji 

 

On February 6, 2023, we entered into a definitive agreement with the existing shareholders of Jilin Zhongji Shi’An Insurance Agency Co., Ltd (“Zhongji”), to acquire 51% of the equity interests of Zhongji. In connection with the acquisition, 13,660,720 ordinary shares of the Company were issued to these shareholders in March 2023. The consideration, adjustable based on the achievement of certain performance targets in the next three years by Zhongji, is subject to a lock-up period of three years and will be released from lock-up in two batches after 2025.

 

(d) Acquisition of Pacific Concord Insurance Consultants Ltd.

 

In November 2023, as part of the Company’s overseas expansion strategy, we, through one of our non-wholly-owned subsidiary, acquired 100% of the equity interest in Pacific Concord Insurance Consultants Ltd., a licensed Hong Kong insurance broker for cash consideration of approximately RMB2.7 million from a third party. It was subsequently renamed as Aasure Insurance Broker Ltd.

 

(e) Acquisition of Puyi Family Office (Chengdu) Enterprises Management Consulting Co., Ltd.

 

In December of 2023, to continuously strengthen our efforts to develop top agents and to enhance their professional capabilities, we acquired 100% of the equity interest in Puyi Family Office (Chengdu) Enterprises Management Consulting Co., Ltd. from HPH for a nominal consideration. Puyi Family Office (Chengdu) Enterprises Management Consulting Co., Ltd. primarily engages in family office business including provision of trust consulting and guest salons services.

 

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Seasonality

 

See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations—Seasonality.”

 

Distribution and Service Network and Marketing

 

We have an offline distribution and service network that, as of March 31, 2024, consisted of one insurance sales and service group, eight insurance agencies, two insurance brokerage firms and two claims adjusting firms in mainland China and two insurance intermediary companies in Hong Kong SAR, with 81,171 registered independent sales agents, and 2,310 in-house claims adjustors. Our distribution and service network in mainland China consisted of 576 sales outlets in 23 provinces and 74 claims services outlets in 31 provinces. Through our open platform and MGA platform, we also connected with 853 institutional platform users.

 

The following table sets forth additional information concerning our distribution and service network as of March 31, 2024, broken down by provinces:

 

Province  Number of
Sales and
Service
Outlets
   Number of
Sales
Agents
   Number of
In-house
Adjustors
 
Shandong   101    16,799    55 
Hebei   77    8,666    58 
Sichuan   55    2,991    86 
Guangdong   53    6,597    489 
Hunan   48    2,201    36 
Zhejiang   39    2,907    150 
Jiangsu   33    5,172    232 
Anhui   33    3,231    36 
Fujian   30    2,311    66 
Henan   26    5,958    45 
Liaoning   22    2,049    89 
Jilin   21    418    28 
Inner Mongolia   16    3,578    31 
Guangxi   16    12,127    88 
Chongqing   14    675    19 
Hubei   11    758    106 
Tianjin   9    997    22 
Shaanxi   9    933    93 
Yunnan   7    427    43 
Beijing   5    931    116 
Shanxi   5    730    39 
Shanghai   5    18    61 
Jiangxi   5    205    123 
Heilongjiang   2    492    25 
Hainan   2    -    15 
Guizhou   1    -    51 
Tibet   1    -    1 
Gansu   1    -    39 
Qinghai   1    -    2 
Ningxia   1    -    56 
Xinjiang   1    -    10 
Total   650    81,171    2,310 

 

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We market and sell long-term personal lines of life and health insurance products and property and casualty insurance products to customers mainly through our affiliated sales agents, most of whom are not our employees, and through third party channels who use our digital platform. We provide insurance brokerage services to corporate customers through both our in-house brokers and non-affiliated independent brokers. We also market and sell certain critical illness, term life, accident, short-term health, travel and homeowner insurance products directly to customers through our online platform Baowang (www.baoxian.com). We market and sell insurance claims adjusting services primarily to insurance companies through our in-house professional claims adjustors.

 

Digital Tenants of Fanhua RONS Open Platform

 

Through Fanhua RONS Technology and Fanhua Insurance Sales, our consolidated VIEs, we offer Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution to various insurance sales organizations. We refer these non-affiliated channels who use our platform services as digital tenants. These digital tenants mainly include third party insurance agencies, insurance broker firms, investment advisory firms, key opinion leaders focusing on investment and insurance education and family offices. We offer these platform users comprehensive business solutions integrating compliance, technology, products, services, operations, and professional support, enabling them to digitize and optimize various aspects of the insurance sales process, from customer acquisition to policy issuance and service delivery. As of March 31, 2024, our open platform has worked with 853 non-affiliated channel partners.

 

Customers

 

We sell life and health insurance products including critical illness, annuity insurance, whole life insurance and term life insurance and endowment insurance as well as non-life insurance products including individual accident insurance, homeowner insurance products, liability insurance and travel insurance primarily to individual customers. We sell commercial property insurance, cargo insurance, hull insurance, liability insurance and construction and erection insurance products to institutional customers. Customers for the life and health insurance products we distribute are primarily individuals under 50 years of age. For the year ended December 31, 2023, no single individual customer who has purchased insurance products through us accounted for more than 1% of our net revenues. Our customers for the claims adjusting services are primarily insurance companies and online mutual-aid platforms. 

 

As of December 31, 2023, we had accumulated approximately 17.0 million individual customers, of which over 3.0 million have purchased at least one regular long-term life and health insurance policy. By providing certain value-added services to these customers at no additional charge, we seek to build a loyal customer base that generates referrals and cross-selling opportunities.

 

Insurance Company Partners and Others

 

As of March 31, 2024, we had established business relationships with 149 insurance companies in the PRC. In the Chinese insurance market, local branches of insurance companies generally have the authority to enter into contracts in their own names with insurance intermediaries. Since 2007, we have sought to establish business relationships with insurance companies at the corporate headquarters level in order to leverage the combined sales volumes of all our subsidiaries located in different parts of China. For the distribution of insurance products, we had outstanding contracts with 51 life insurance companies, 9 health and pension insurance companies and 25 property and casualty insurance companies, most of which were signed at the corporate headquarter level as of March 31, 2024. For the provision of claims adjusting services, we also had business relationship with 110 insurance companies, and 283 other institutions including third party insurance intermediaries, logistics companies, construction companies and marine and cargo companies as of March 31, 2024.

 

Competition

 

A number of industry players are involved in the distribution of insurance products in the PRC. We compete for customers on the basis of product offerings, customer services and reputation. Because we primarily distribute individual insurance products, our principal competitors include:

 

  Professional insurance intermediaries. The professional insurance intermediary sector in China is highly fragmented. Several insurance intermediary companies have received private equity or venture capital funding in recent years and are actively pursuing expansion. We believe that we can compete effectively with these insurance intermediary companies with our long operating history, strong brand recognition, a strong and stable team of managers, nationwide network of sales professionals enabled by digital tools, leading online platforms and diversified product offerings. With increasing consolidation expected in the insurance intermediary sector in the coming years, we expect competition within this sector to intensify.

 

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  Insurance companies. The distribution of individual life insurance products in China historically has been dominated by insurance companies, which usually use both in-house sales forces and exclusive sales agents to distribute their own products. In addition, in recent years several major insurance companies have increasingly used telemarketing and the Internet to distribute insurance. We believe that we can compete effectively with insurance companies because we focus only on distribution and offer our customers a broad range of choices of insurance products underwritten by multiple insurance companies.

 

  Entities that offer insurance products online. In recent years, domestic insurance companies, Internet companies and professional insurance intermediaries have begun to engage in the Internet insurance business. However, each of their insurance e-commerce operations has its own limitations. The insurance products offered on an insurance company’s website are usually confined to those under its own brand. Most Internet companies have limited experience in insurance operation with limited or no offline sales and service support. Our better brand recognition, extensive offline sales and service network which enables us to offer online and offline integrated services to customers also differentiate us from internet-based professional insurance intermediaries. We believe that we can compete effectively with these business entities because we offer customers access to a broad range of insurance products underwritten by multiple insurance companies and good after-sale services that are backed by our nation-wide service network and better user experience.

 

  Other business entities. In recent years, business entities that distribute insurance products as an ancillary business, primarily commercial banks and postal offices, have been playing an increasingly important role in the distribution of insurance products, especially life insurance products. However, the insurance products distributed by these entities are mostly confined to those related to their main lines of business, such as investment-related life insurance products. We believe that we can compete effectively with these business entities because we offer our customers a broader variety of products.

  

We compete primarily with the other major claims adjusting firms in China. We believe that we can compete effectively with other major insurance claims adjusting firms because we offer our customers a diversified range of claims adjusting services covering medical insurance, property insurance, auto insurance, marine and cargo insurance, and personal injury and accident insurance and are able to leverage the business relationships we have developed with insurance companies through the distribution of property and casualty insurance products.

 

Intellectual Property

 

Our brand, trade names, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights distinguish our business platform, services and products from those of our competitors and contribute to our competitive advantage in the professional insurance intermediary sector. To protect our intellectual property, we rely on a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret laws as well as confidentiality agreements with our employees, sales agents, contractors and others. As of March 31, 2024, we had 80 registered trademarks in China, including our corporate logo. Our main website is www.fanhuaholdings.com.

 

Risk Management

 

Proactive risk management and a strong risk culture are essential to our long-term success. As a Nasdaq-listed company, we are subject to the requirements of U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, specifically sections 302 and 404. Accordingly, we have established a comprehensive internal control and risk management structure that enables us to identify and analyze risks early and take appropriate action.

 

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The Board of Directors is the highest decision-making body for corporate risk management and is responsible for the effectiveness of overall risk management efforts. The Audit Committee under the Board of Directors is established to fully assess the major risks faced by the Company and supervise the effectiveness of the implementation of the Company’s risk management system. 

 

We established a risk management and internal audit department which works independently from our operations and directly reports to the Audit Committee. The department holds the primary responsibility of monitoring and supervising risk management of the Company’s business operation in compliance with the requirements of SOX.

 

  Assisting the management in identifying, measuring and managing risks in daily business activities and periodically reporting to the full board of directors, the Audit Committee and executive suite potential risks facing the Company;
     

 

  Supervising the establishment of standard operating processes by various functional departments and business units and conducting risk assessment and internal tests to carry out independent and un-biased checks and evaluation on the appropriateness, compliance and effectiveness of the Company’s business operations and internal control; and

 

  Monitoring the implementation of improvement plans on control weakness and providing recommendations on enhancing risk management capabilities in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

 

In order to foster the awareness of compliance among all employees and establish a sustainable and effective compliance mechanism, Fanhua Group Company issued a compliance accountability policy named Fanhua Insurance Sales Group Compliance Accountability System which sets forth the responsibilities for keeping in compliance with relevant laws and regulations by staff at various levels and the accountability for non-compliance. It also puts forth the process of reporting potential risks when identified to take further actions. 

 

The Compliance Department of the Fanhua Group Company leads the efforts to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the Compliance Accountability Policy while our functional departments and subsidiaries holds the primary responsibility for risk control and compliance of our business operations. When a risk event occurs, functional departments or subsidiaries shall immediately report it to the Compliance Department to open a case for investigation and management. The functional departments or subsidiaries shall inspect the progress of risk events and implementation of improvement plans each month, and report progress to the Compliance Department.

 

Regulation

 

Regulations of the Insurance Industry

 

The insurance industry in the PRC is highly regulated. Between 1998 and March 2018, CIRC was the regulatory authority responsible for the supervision of the Chinese insurance industry. In March 2018, the CBIRC, was established as the result of the merger between CIRC and CBRC, replacing CIRC as the regulatory authority for the supervision of the Chinese insurance industry. Insurance activities undertaken within the PRC are primarily governed by the Insurance Law and the related rules and regulations.

 

Initial Development of Regulatory Framework

 

The Chinese Insurance Law was enacted in 1995. The original insurance law, which we refer to as the 1995 Insurance Law, provided the initial framework for regulating the domestic insurance industry. Among the steps taken under the 1995 Insurance Law were the following:

 

  Licensing of insurance companies and insurance intermediaries, such as agencies and brokerages. The 1995 Insurance Law established requirements for minimum registered capital levels, form of organization, qualification of senior management and adequacy of the information systems for insurance companies and insurance agencies and brokerages.

 

  Separation of property and casualty insurance businesses and life insurance businesses. The 1995 Insurance Law classified insurance between property, casualty, liability and credit insurance businesses, on the one hand, and life, accident and health insurance businesses on the other, and prohibited insurance companies from engaging in both types of businesses.

 

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  Regulation of market conduct by participants. The 1995 Insurance Law prohibited fraudulent and other unlawful conduct by insurance companies, agencies and brokerages.

 

  Substantive regulation of insurance products. The 1995 Insurance Law gave insurance regulators the authority to approve the basic policy terms and premium rates for major insurance products.

 

  Financial condition and performance of insurance companies. The 1995 Insurance Law established reserve and solvency standards for insurance companies, imposed restrictions on investment powers and established mandatory reinsurance requirements, and put in place a reporting regime to facilitate monitoring by insurance regulators.

 

  Supervisory and enforcement powers of the principal regulatory authority. The principal regulatory authority, then the PBOC, was given broad powers under the 1995 Insurance Law to regulate the insurance industry.

 

Establishment of the CIRC and 2002 Amendments to the Insurance Law

 

China’s insurance regulatory regime was further strengthened with the establishment of the CIRC in 1998. The CIRC was given the mandate to implement reform in the insurance industry, minimize insolvency risk for Chinese insurers and promote the development of the insurance market.

 

The 1995 Insurance Law was amended in 2002 and the amended insurance law, which we refer to as the 2002 Insurance Law, became effective on January 1, 2003. The major amendments to the 1995 Insurance Law include:

 

  Authorizing the CIRC to be the insurance supervisory and regulatory body nationwide. The 2002 Insurance Law expressly grants the CIRC the authority to supervise and administer the insurance industry nationwide.

 

  Expanding the permitted scope of business of property and casualty insurers. Under the 2002 Insurance Law, property and casualty insurance companies may engage in the short-term health insurance and accident insurance businesses upon the CIRC’s approval.

 

  Providing additional guidelines for the relationship between insurance companies and insurance agents. The 2002 Insurance Law requires an insurance company to enter into an agent agreement with each insurance agent that will act as an agent for that insurance company. The agent agreement sets forth the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement as well as other matters pursuant to law. An insurance company is responsible for the acts of its agents when the acts are within the scope authorized by the insurance company.

 

  Relaxing restrictions on the use of funds by insurance companies. Under the 2002 Insurance Law, an insurance company may use its funds to make equity investments in insurance-related enterprises, such as asset management companies.

 

  Allowing greater freedom for insurance companies to develop insurance products. The 2002 Insurance Law allowed insurance companies to set their own policy terms and premium rates, subject to the approval of, or a filing with, the CIRC.

 

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2009 Amendments to the Insurance Law

 

The 2002 Insurance Law was amended again in 2009 and the amended insurance law, which we refer to as the 2009 Insurance Law, became effective on October 1, 2009. The major amendments to the 2009 Insurance Law include:

 

  Strengthening protection of the insured’s interests. The 2009 Insurance Law added a variety of clauses such as incontestable clause, abstained and estoppel clause, common disaster clause and amending immunity clause, claims-settlement prescription clause, reasons for claims rejection and contract modification clause.

 

  Strengthening supervision on the qualification of the shareholders of the insurance companies and setting forth specific qualification requirements for the major shareholders, directors, supervisors and senior managers of insurance companies.

 

  Expanding the business scope of insurers and further relaxing restriction on the use of fund by insurers.

 

  Strengthening supervision on solvency of insurers with stricter measures.

 

  Tightening regulations governing the administration of insurance intermediary companies, especially those relating to behaviors of insurance agents.

 

According to the 2009 Insurance Law, the minimum registered capital required to establish an insurance agency or insurance broker as a company must comply with the PRC Company Law. The registered capital or the capital contribution of insurance agencies or insurance brokers must be paid-up capital in cash. The 2009 Insurance Law also sets forth some specific qualification requirements for insurance agency and broker practitioners. The senior managers of insurance agencies or insurance brokers must meet specific qualification requirements, and their appointments are subject to approval of the CIRC. Personnel of an insurance agency or insurance broker engaging in the sales of insurance products must meet the qualification requirements set by the CIRC and obtain a qualification certificate issued by the CIRC. Under the 2009 Insurance Law, the parties to an insurance transaction may engage insurance adjusting firms or other independent appraisal firms that are established in accordance with applicable laws, or persons who possess the requisite professional expertise, to conduct assessment and adjustment of the insured subject matters. Additionally, the 2009 Insurance Law specifies additional legal obligations for insurance agencies and brokerages.

 

2014 Amendments to the Insurance Law

 

The 2002 Insurance Law was amended again in 2014 and the amended insurance law, which we refer to as the 2014 Insurance Law, became effective on August 31, 2014. The major amendments of the 2014 Insurance Law include:

 

  Relaxing restrictions on actuaries. The 2014 Insurance Law no longer requires Insurance companies shall employ actuaries recognized by the insurance regulatory authority under the State Council. However, an insurance company shall also engage professionals, and establish an actuarial reporting system and a compliance reporting system as before.

 

2015 Amendments to the Insurance Law

 

The 2014 Insurance Law was amended again in 2015 and the amended insurance law, which we refer to as the 2015 Insurance Law, became effective on April 24, 2015. The major amendments of the 2015 Insurance Law include:

 

  Eliminating the requirement for an insurance agent or broker to obtain a qualification certificate issued by the CIRC before providing any insurance agency or brokerage services.

 

  Relaxing the requirement for the establishment or other significant corporate events of an insurance agency or brokerage firm. For example, an insurance agency or brokerage firm is allowed to apply for a business permit from the CIRC and a business license from the local AIC simultaneously under the 2015 Insurance Law, while an insurance agency or brokerage firm had to apply for and receive a business permit issued by the CIRC before it could apply for a business license from and register with the relevant local AIC under the 2014 Insurance Law. Prior approval by the CIRC is no longer required for the divesture or mergers of insurance agencies or brokerage firms, the change of their organizational form, or the establishment or winding-up of a branch by an insurance agency or brokerage firm.

 

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The CIRC and the CBIRC

 

The CBIRC, which was formed by the merger of China Banking Regulatory Commission (“CBRC”) and CIRC in March, 2018, inherits the authority of CIRC, has extensive authority to supervise insurance companies and insurance intermediaries operating in the PRC, including the power to:

 

  promulgate regulations applicable to the Chinese insurance industry;

 

  investigate insurance companies and insurance intermediaries;

 

  establish investment regulations;

 

  approve policy terms and premium rates for certain insurance products;

 

  set the standards for measuring the financial soundness of insurance companies and insurance intermediaries;

 

  require insurance companies and insurance intermediaries to submit reports concerning their business operations and condition of assets;

 

  order the suspension of all or part of an insurance company or an insurance intermediary’s business;

 

  approve the establishment, change and dissolution of an insurance company, an insurance intermediary or their branches;

 

  review and approve the appointment of senior managers of an insurance company, an insurance intermediary or their branches; and

 

  punish insurance companies or intermediaries for improper behaviors or misconducts.

 

Regulation of Insurance Sales Behavior Management

 

On September 29, 2023, the the CBIRC, the predecessor of NFRA, issued the Measures for the Supervision of Insurance Sales Behavior (hereinafter referred to as the “Sales Measures”), effective from March 1, 2024.

 

According to the Sales Measures, only the following five categories of individuals are eligible to sell insurance:

 

Insurance Companies: Employees engaged in insurance sales, individual insurance agents, and individuals under other forms of employment managed as sales personnel.

 

Insurance Agencies: Individuals engaged in insurance agency services.

 

Insurance Brokers: Individuals engaged in insurance brokerage services.

 

The Sales Measures categorize insurance sales activities into three stages - pre-sale, mid-sale, and after-sale behaviors - and regulate them accordingly.

 

Management of Insurance Pre-sale Behaviors

 

(i) Prohibition of Cross-Regional Business Expansion

 

Insurance companies and insurance agencies are prohibited from engaging in insurance sales activities beyond their business scope and regional boundaries defined by related laws, regulations, and authorities. Insurance sales individuals are not allowed to conduct insurance sales activities beyond authorization from their institutions.

 

(ii) Alignment of Data with Regulatory Requirements

 

Insurance companies and insurance agencies engaged in insurance sales activities must be equipped with information management systems and core business systems for their business, finance, staff, etc., to ensure that the data is accurate, complete, timely, and consistent with the data information recorded in the regulatory systems as required by the authorities.

 

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(iii) Tiered Management and Sales System for Practitioners and Products

 

Insurance companies shall establish a management system for grading their insurance products based on complexity, costs, and risk for the policyholders.

 

Insurance companies and insurance agencies shall support industry self-regulatory organizations in promoting the tiered sales capabilities of insurance practitioners. Under the framework established by industry self-regulatory organizations, they shall establish a tiered management system for the qualification for practitioners based on their professional knowledge, sales ability, integrity, and moral conducts. This system should be aligned with the tiered management system for insurance products to authorize practitioners to sell different products within their capabilities.

 

(iv) Establishment of Insurance Sales Promotion Management System

 

Insurance companies and insurance agencies shall establish a sales promotion management system to guarantee that their promotions will:

 

(1) not exceed the business scope and regional boundaries as stated in the legal operating qualifications of insurance companies and insurance agencies;

 

(2) indicates that the promotion is for insurance products;

 

(3) not use false or inaccurate data and information, conceal restrictions, use false or exaggerated expressions, or promote in improper ways such as confusion, inaccurate analogies, or hidden conditions;

 

(4) not discredit competitors through fabrication or dissemination of false facts, promote through improper comparison or ranking, or use identical or similar registered trademarks, names, or promotional materials that may cause confusion;

 

(5) not make misleading statements by using the regulatory authority’s review or filing procedures for insurance products or implying guarantees from regulatory authorities for the products; and

 

(6) not violate laws, regulations, and other regulatory requirements.

 

(v) Prohibition of Speculative Sales

 

Before an insurance company issues an announcement to cease sales or adjust the price of a particular insurance product, insurance sales practitioners are prohibited to promote in advance.

 

Management of Insurance Mid-sale Behaviors

 

(i) Consultative Sales of Insurance Products

 

Insurance companies shall, through lawful means, understand the needs, risk and premium affordability, purchased similar insurance of the insured, and other relevant information. Based on this information, they will determine the types and tiers of insurance products for the insured, and appoint qualified insurance salespersons to sell insurance products within those tiers.

 

Insurance agencies shall assist the collaborating insurance companies in understanding the information about the insured as specified above. They shall appoint qualified insurance salespersons to sell insurance products within the types and tiers determined by the collaborating insurance companies.

 

When selling new types of personal insurance products, insurance companies and agencies shall inform the insured about the uncertainty of policy benefits and disclose all risks accurately. If a risk tolerance assessment for the insured is required by laws, regulations, or regulatory requirements, it should be conducted and its result shall be referred to when selling insurance products.

 

(ii) Prohibition of Bundling and Default Selection

 

Insurance companies, agencies, and their salespersons are prohibited from using methods such as bundling or default selection via information systems or webpages to enter into insurance contracts with the insured.

 

(iii) Retrospective Record Management

 

Insurance companies and agencies shall implement retrospective record management in insurance sales behaviors according to regulatory requirements, such as recording, video recording, sales page management, and operation trace recording based on different sales methods. Audiovisual and electronic data generated during the retrospective recording management process should be backed up and archived.

 

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(iv) Funds Management Mechanism

 

Insurance companies and agencies shall strengthen fund management and establish a fund management mechanism, adhering to the regulations for fund receipts and disbursements.

 

Insurance salespersons are prohibited from accepting commissions to pay insurance premiums, collect surrender values, or receive insurance benefits on behalf of the insured, the policyholder, or the beneficiary. They are also prohibited from handling insurance premium payments, receiving surrender values, or receiving insurance benefits through accounts not belonging to the insured, the policyholder, or the beneficiary.

 

Management of Insurance After-sale Behaviors

 

Insurance companies and agencies must notify policyholders or the insured within 30 days after the completion of their departure procedures for their insurance salespersons. This notification shall include information about the departure of the insurance salesperson, the status of insurance contracts, and the means to receive future services, ensuring that the lawful interests of policyholders or the insured will not be compromised due to the departure of insurance salespersons.

 

In the event of termination of cooperation between an insurance company and an agency, the insurance company must notify policyholders or the insured within 30 days after the termination. This notification shall include information about the termination of cooperation between the insurance company and the agency, the status of insurance contracts, and the means to receive future services, ensuring that the lawful interests of policyholders or the insured will not be compromised due to the termination of cooperation.

 

Following the departure of insurance salespersons or the termination of cooperation between agencies and insurance companies, no actions shall be taken to compromise the lawful interests of policyholders through means such as encouraging the surrender of insurance policies.

 

Regulation of Insurance Agents

 

The principal regulation governing insurance agents is the Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Agents, or the PSAIA, issued by the CBIRC on November 12, 2020 and effective on January 1, 2021, replacing the Provision on the Supervision and Administration of Professional Insurance Agencies issued by the CIRC on September 25, 2009 and amended on April 7, 2013, the Measures on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Salespersons issued on January 6, 2013 and the Interim Measures on the Administration of Ancillary-Business Insurance Agency issued on August 4, 2000. 

 

The term of “insurance agent” refers to an entity or an individual entrusted by insurance companies to handle insurance business by and within the authorization of, and which collects commissions from insurance companies, and includes a professional insurance agency, ancillary-business insurance agency and individual insurance sales agent which refers to a captive insurance agent of an insurance company.

 

The practitioner of an insurance agency refers to an individual engaged in the sales of insurance products or loss assessment and claims settlement services for a professional insurance agency or ancillary-business insurance agency.

 

To engage in insurance agency business, a professional insurance agency shall obtain an insurance agency business permit issued by the CBIRC, after obtaining a business license, and satisfy the requirements prescribed by the PSAIA or other relevant regulations on shareholder and management qualification, capital contribution, articles of association, corporate governance and internal control procedures with viable business model and sound business and financial information system. An insurance agency may take any of the following forms: (i) a limited liability company; or (ii) a joint stock limited company. The name of a professional insurance agency shall contain the words “insurance agency”.

 

The minimum registered capital for establishing a nationwide professional insurance agency is RMB50 million and that for a regional professional insurance agency is RMB20 million. The registered capital of a professional insurance agency must be paid-in monetary capital. To operate outside of its registration place, a nationwide professional insurance agency shall set up local provincial branches first before setting up additional sub-branches and sales offices.

 

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Professional insurance agencies shall, within 5 days from the date of occurrence of any of the following circumstances, report to the CBIRC through the supervision information system and make public disclosure: (i) change of name, domicile or business address; (ii) change of shareholders, registered capital or the form of organization; (iii) change of name or capital contribution of a shareholder; (iv) amendments to the articles of association; (v) equity investment in, or establishment of offshore insurance institutions or non-operating institutions; (vi) division, merger, dissolution, or termination of insurance agency business activities of branches; (vii) change of the principal person-in-charge of a sub-branch; (viii) administrative punishment, civil punishment or pending investigation of suspected illegal crime; or (ix) other reportable events prescribed by the insurance regulatory body under the State Council.

 

A professional insurance agency may engage in all or part of the following businesses: (i) selling insurance products on behalf of insurance companies; (ii) collecting insurance premium on behalf of insurance companies; (iii) insurance-related loss survey and claims settlement on behalf of insurance companies; or (iv) other relevant businesses stipulated by the insurance regulatory body under the State Council. Insurance agents shall not engage in insurance agency business beyond the business scope and business area of the insurance companies for which they act as agents.

 

A professional insurance agency and its sales practitioners and individual insurance agents are not allowed to sell non-insurance financial products, except for non-insurance financial products approved by relevant financial regulatory authorities provided that all necessary qualification requirements are being met.

 

A professional insurance agency shall, within 20 days upon obtaining business permits, procure professional liability insurance or make contributions to security deposits. Minimum compensation for each accident under the one-year professional liability insurance policy shall be no less than RMB1 million, and accumulative compensation under the one-year insurance policy shall be no less than RMB10 million and the total core business revenue of the professional insurance agency company in the previous year. If a professional agency intends to pay deposit, the deposit shall be paid at 5% of its registered capital and when it increases its registered capital, the amount of the deposit shall be increased proportionately.

 

The senior managers of a professional insurance agency must meet specific qualification requirements in educational background and relevant industry working experience set forth in the PSAIA. 

 

An insurance agent shall perform sales practicing register with the CRIBC’s Insurance Intermediaries Regulatory Information System for its individual insurance agent or sales practitioner. Each individual insurance agent or sales practitioner of an insurance agency can only be allowed to register with one institution.

 

Specific information disclosure requirements are also provided in the PSAIA. For example, it is required that a professional insurance agency or its branches shall place its business license and copies of permit in a prominent position in its domicile or business site. Insurance agents shall make full disclosure of all relevant information of insurance products to policyholders and make a clear representation of the clauses in the insurance contract including liability, liability reduction or exemption, cancellation and other expense deductions, cash value, cooling-off period and etc.

 

Regulation of Insurance Brokerages

 

The principal regulation governing insurance brokerages is the Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Brokers, or the POSAIB, promulgated by the CIRC on February 1, 2018 and effective May 1, 2018, replacing the Provisions on the Supervision of Insurance Brokerages issued on September 25, 2009, as amended on April 27, 2013, and the Measures on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Brokers and Insurance Claims Adjustors issued by the CIRC on January 6, 2013.

 

The term of “insurance broker” refers to an entity which, representing the interests of insurance applicants, acts as an intermediary between insurance applicants and insurance companies for entering into insurance contracts, and collects commissions for the provision of such brokering services. The term of “insurance brokerage practitioner” refers to a person affiliated with an insurance broker who drafts insurance application proposals or handles the insurance application formalities for insurance applicants or the insured or assists insurance applicants or the insured in claiming compensation or who provides clients with disaster or loss prevention or risk assessment or management consulting services or engages in reinsurance brokerage, among others.

 

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To engage in insurance brokerage business within the territory of the PRC, an insurance brokerage shall satisfy the requirements prescribed by the CIRC and obtain an insurance brokerage business permit issued by the CIRC, after obtaining a business license. An insurance broker may take any of the following forms: (i) a limited liability company; or (ii) a joint stock limited company.

 

The minimum registered capital of an insurance brokerage company whose business area is not limited to the province in which it is registered is RMB50 million while the minimum registered capital of an insurance brokerage company whose business area is limited to its place of registration is RMB10 million.

 

The name of an insurance broker shall include the words “insurance broker/brokerage.” An insurance broker must register the information of its affiliated insurance brokerage practitioners with the IISIS. One person can only be registered with the IISIS through one insurance broker.

 

An insurance broker may conduct the following insurance brokering businesses:

 

  making insurance proposals, selecting insurance companies and handling the insurance application procedures for the insurance applicants;

 

  assisting the insured or the beneficiary to claim compensation;

 

  reinsurance brokering business;

 

  providing consulting services to clients with respect to disaster and damage prevention, risk assessment and risk management; and

 

  other business activities approved by the CIRC.

 

An insurance broker shall submit a written report to the CIRC through the IISIS and make public disclosure within five days from the date of occurrence of any of the following matters: (i) change of name, domicile or business premises; (ii) change of shareholders, registered capital or form of organization; (iii) change of names of shareholders or capital contributions; (iv) amendment to the articles of association; (v) equity investment, establishment of offshore insurance-related entities or non-operational organizations; (vi) division, merger and dissolution or termination of insurance brokering business activities of its branches; (vii) change of the primary person in charge of its branches other than provincial branches; (viii) being a subject of administrative or criminal penalties, or under investigation for suspected involvement in any violation of law or a crime; and (x) other reportable events prescribed by the CIRC.

 

Insurance broker and its practitioners are not allowed to sell non-insurance financial products, except for those products approved by relevant financial regulatory institutions and the insurance broker and its practitioners shall obtain relevant qualifications in order to sell non-insurance related financial products that meets regulatory requirements.

 

Personnel of an insurance broker and its branches who engage in any of the insurance brokering businesses described above must comply with the qualification requirements prescribed by the CIRC. The senior managers of an insurance broker must meet specific qualification requirements set forth in the POSAIB.

 

Regulation of Insurance Claims Adjusting Firms

 

The principal regulation governing insurance adjusting firms is the Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Insurance Claims Adjustors, or the POSAICA, issued by the CIRC on February 1, 2018 and effective on May 1, 2018, replacing the Provisions on the Supervision of Insurance Claims Adjusting Firms effective on October 1, 2009, as amended on September 29, 2013 and 2015, and the Regulation of Insurance Brokers and Insurance Adjustors effective on July 1, 2013.

 

According to the POSAICA, the term “insurance adjustment” refers to the assessment, survey, authentication, loss estimation and relevant risk assessment of the insured subject matters or the insurance incidents conducted by an appraisal firm and its professional appraisers upon the entrustment of the parties concerned. The term of “insurance adjusting firm” refers to an entity and any of its branches which engages in the aforementioned businesses.

 

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The term “insurance adjustment practitioner” refers to a person retained by an insurance claims adjusting firm to conduct the following activities on behalf of an entruster: i) inspecting, appraising the value of and assessing the risks of the subject matter before and after it is insured; ii) surveying, inspecting, estimating the loss of, adjusting and disposing of the residual value of the insured subject matter after a loss has been incurred; and iii) risk management consulting.

 

Insurance adjustment practitioners include claims adjustors and assessment practitioners with claims adjustment knowledge and practical experience. A claims adjustor refers to an individual who has passed the qualification examination for the insurance claims adjustors organized by the CIRC.

 

An insurance claims adjusting firm must meet the requirements prescribed by the China Asset Appraisal Law and applicable regulations issued by the CIRC and must file its business records with the CIRC and its local offices.

 

According to the regulation, an insurance adjusting firm should take the form of a company or a partnership in accordance with applicable law and retains claims adjustment practitioners to engage in insurance claims adjusting businesses. A claims adjusting firm in the form of a partnership must have at least two claims adjustors and two-thirds of its partners should be claims adjustors who have at least three years’ working experience in claims adjustment and have no record of administrative penalties in relation to claims adjustment activities in the past three years. A claims adjusting firm in the form of a company must have at least eight claims adjustors and two shareholders among which at least two-thirds are claims adjustors who have at least three years’ working experience in claims adjustment and have no record of administrative penalties in relations to claims adjustment activities in the past three years.

 

The establishment of an insurance claims adjusting firm only requires the application for a business license from and registration with the AIC, instead of both applying for business license and obtaining approval by the CIRC as previously required.

 

A claims adjusting firm may include a nationwide claims adjusting firm and regional claims adjusting firm. A nationwide claims adjusting firm can conduct business within the territory of the PRC and can establish branches in provinces other than its place of registration while a regional one can only conduct business and establish branches in the province where it is registered. A claims adjusting firm in the form of a company must file its business record with the CIRC if it is a nationwide claims adjusting firm or file with the local offices of the CIRC in the region where it is registered if it is a regional claims adjusting firm. A partnership firm must file its business record with the CIRC. 

 

An insurance claims adjusting firm must meet certain requirements in order to engage in claims adjustment business which include, among others, i) its shareholders or its partners must meet the requirements mentioned above and its capital contribution must be self-owned, actual and lawful and must not be non-self-owned capital in various forms such as bank loan; and ii) it must have adequate working capital to support its day-to-day operation and risk undertaking in accordance with its business development plan. A nationwide entity must have at least RMB2 million working capital while a regional one must have at least RMB1 million.

 

An insurance adjusting firm may engage in the following businesses:

 

Upon approval of the CIRC, an insurance adjusting firm may engage in the following businesses:

 

  inspecting, appraising the value of and assessing the risks of the subject matter before and after it is insured;

 

  surveying, inspecting, estimating the loss of, adjusting and disposing of the insured subject matter after loss has been incurred;

 

  risk management consulting; and

 

  other business activities approved by the CIRC.

 

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The name of an insurance adjusting firm must contain the words “insurance adjusting” and must avoid duplicating names of existing insurance claims adjusting firms. In any of the following situations, an insurance adjusting firm shall submit a written report to the CIRC when it within five days from the date the resolution for change has been passed: (i) change of name, domicile or business premises; (ii) change of shareholders or partners; (iii) change of registered capital or form of organization; (iv) change of names of shareholders or partners or capital contributions; (v) amendment to the articles of association or the partnership agreement; (vi) equity investment, establishment of offshore insurance related entities or non-operational organization; (vii) division, merger and dissolution or termination of insurance claims adjustment business of its branches; (viii) change of chairman of its board of directors, executive directors or senior management; (ix) being a subject of administrative or criminal penalties, or under investigation for suspected involvement in a crime; and (x) other reportable events specified by the CIRC.

 

Personnel of an insurance adjusting firm or its branches engaged in any of the insurance adjusting businesses described above must comply with the qualification requirements prescribed by the CIRC. The senior managers of an insurance adjusting firm must meet specific qualification requirements set forth in the POSAICA.

 

An insurance claims adjustment practitioner must join an insurance claims adjusting firm in order to conduct insurance claims adjustment activities. The insurance claims adjusting firm to which he or she belongs must register his or her information with the CIRC’s Insurance Intermediary Supervision Information System or IISIS. One person can only conduct insurance adjustment activities for one insurance claims adjusting firm and can only be registered with the IISIS through one insurance claims adjusting firm.

 

At least two insurance claims adjustment practitioners must be appointed to undertake each case of insurance claims adjustment businesses and the claims adjustment report shall be signed by at least two insurance claims adjustment practitioners engaged in the claims adjustment activities and chopped by the claims adjusting firm to which he or she belongs.

 

Regulation of Insurance Intermediary Service Group Companies

 

The principal regulation governing insurance intermediary groups is the Provisional Measures for Supervision and Administration of the Insurance Intermediary Service Group Companies (for Trial Implementation) issued by the CIRC on September 22, 2011 with immediate effect. According to the regulation, the term “insurance intermediary service group company” refers to a professional insurance intermediary company that is established in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and with the approval of the CIRC that exercises sole or shared control of, or is able to exert major influence over, at least two subsidiaries that are professional insurance intermediary companies primarily engaged in the insurance intermediary business. 

 

An insurance intermediary service group company must have:

 

  a registered capital of at least RMB100 million;

 

  no record of material violation by investors of applicable laws and regulations in the previous three years;

 

  at least five subsidiaries, among which at least two are professional insurance intermediary companies which contribute at least 50% of the total revenues of the group;

 

  chairman (Executive director) and the senior management with qualifications stipulated by the CIRC;

 

  perfect governance structure, sound organization, effective risk management and internal control management system;

 

  business premises and office equipment which are suitable for the development of the businesses; and

 

  other conditions stipulated by laws, administrative regulations and the CIRC.

 

The name of an insurance intermediary service group must contain the words “Group” or “Holding.” Its principal business must be equity investment, management and provision of supporting services. An insurance intermediary service group company shall, submit a written report to the CIRC and its local counterparts at the place of registration within five working days after the date of occurrence of the following: (i) changing its registered name or address; (ii) changing its registered capital; (iii) changing its equity structure by more than 5% or shareholders holding more than 5% of shares; (iv) changing its articles of association; (v) establishing, acquiring, merging or closing its subsidiary; (vi) engaging in related party transactions between member companies; (vii) disincorporating; (viii) significantly changing its business scope; or (ix) making a major strategic investment, suffering a significant investment loss or experiencing other material events or emergencies that affect or may affect the business management, financial status or risk control of the group. Senior managers of an insurance intermediary service group company must meet specific qualification requirements and appointment of the senior managers of an insurance intermediary service group company is subject to review and approval by the CIRC.

 

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Content Related to Insurance Industry in the Legal Documents of China’s Accession to the WTO

 

According to the Circular of the CIRC on Distributing the Content Related to Insurance Industry in the Legal Documents of China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization, or WTO, for the life insurance sector, within three years of China’s accession to the WTO on December 11, 2001, geographical restrictions were to be lifted, equity joint venture companies allowed to provide health insurance, group insurance, and pension/annuity services to Chinese citizens and foreign citizens, and for there to be no other restrictions except those on the proportion of foreign investment (no more than 50%) and establishment conditions. For the non-life insurance sector, within three years of China’s accession, the geographical restrictions were to be lifted and no restrictions allowed other than establishment conditions. For the insurance brokerage sector, within five years of China’s accession, the establishment of wholly foreign-funded subsidiary companies was to be allowed, and no restriction other than establishment conditions and restrictions on business scope.

 

Content Related to Insurance Industry in the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements

 

Under CEPA Supplement IV signed in June and July 2007 and CEPA Supplement VIII signed in December 2011, local insurance agencies in Hong Kong SAR and Macau are allowed to set up wholly-owned insurance agency companies and conduct insurance intermediary businesses in Guangdong Province (including Shenzhen) on a pilot basis if they fulfill the following criteria:

 

  The applicant must have operated an insurance brokerage businesses in Hong Kong SAR and Macau for over 10 years;

 

  The applicant’s average annual revenue of insurance brokerage business for the past three years before application must not be less than HKD500,000 and the total assets as at the end of the year before application must not be less than HKD500,000;

 

  Within three years before application, there has been no serious misconduct or record of disciplinary action; and

 

  The applicant must have set up a representative office in mainland China for over one year

 

Regulations on Internet Insurance

 

The principal regulation governing the operation of internet insurance business is the Measures for the Supervision of the Internet Insurance Business, or the Measures, promulgated on December 7, 2020 and effective on February 1, 2021, replacing the Interim Measures for the Supervision of the Internet Insurance Business, or the Interim Measures, issued on July 22, 2015 and effective on October 1, 2015.

 

According to the Measures, the term of “internet insurance business” refers to the business of concluding insurance contracts and providing insurance services by insurance institutions with internet technologies. Insurance institutions refer to insurance companies and insurance intermediaries which include insurance agents (except individual insurance agents), insurance brokerage firms and insurance claims adjusting firms. Insurance agents (except individual insurance agents) refer to professional insurance agencies, bancassurance-related ancillary insurance agencies and internet companies that have obtained licenses for engaging in insurance agency business in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Non-insurance institutions are not allowed to conduct internet insurance business, including but not limited to, providing insurance product consultancy services, providing insurance product comparison, price quotation and price comparison services, designing insurance plans for the insureds and handling insurance application formalities on behalf of the insureds and collecting premiums by proxy.

 

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A self-operated internet platform refers to an internet platform established by insurance institutions for conducting insurance business, by which insurance institutions can operate business independently and have full access to the data on the platform. The internet insurance business of an insurance institution shall be operated and managed by its headquarter with standardized and centralized business platform, business procedures and management system.

 

To carry out internet insurance business, an insurance institution shall meet the following requirements, among others: (i) making ICP filing in the case of operating a mobile application or website; (ii) maintaining independent information management system and core business system to support its internet insurance business operation; (iii) equipped with a comprehensive working mechanism for network security monitoring, information alert, emergency management, and cybersecurity protection measures for border protection, intrusion detection, data protection and disaster recovery; (vi) equipped with certified Safety Level-III Computer Information System for a self-operated online platform that can facilitate insurance sales and application and no lower than Safety level-II Computer Information System for self-operated online platforms without insurance sales and application functions; (v) having designated department and personnel for managing the internet insurance business; (vi) maintaining sound management system and operating procedures; (vii) having a sound Internet insurance business management system and operating rules; (viii) when an insurance company carries out Internet insurance sales, it shall comply with the relevant regulations of the CBIRC on solvency, supervision and evaluation of consumer rights and interests protection, etc.; (ix) professional insurance intermediaries shall be national institutions, and their business areas shall not be limited to the provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, cities separately listed on the State plan) where the head office’s business license is registered, and comply with the relevant provisions of the CBIRC on the classified supervision of insurance professional intermediary institutions; (x) other conditions prescribed by the Bancassurance Regulatory Commission.

 

Insurance institutions shall carefully evaluate their own risk management and control capacity and customer service capacity, and rationally determine and choose insurance products and the scope of sales activities suitable for internet operations.

 

Insurance institutions engaging in internet insurance business shall establish official website and set up internet insurance column for information disclosure.

 

The Measures also specifies requirements on disclosure of information such as information regarding insurance products sold on the internet, the qualification of the insurance institutions operating the internet insurance business, contact methods for local support and compliant provides guidelines for the operations of the insurance institutions that engage in internet insurance business. 

 

Regulation on Internet Life Insurance

 

The Notice on Further Regulation of Matters Relating to the Internet Life Insurance Business of Insurance Institutions, or the Notice, was issued on October 12, 2021, effective immediately. According to the Notice, internet life insurance business refers to the business activities of insurance companies to launch and sell internet life insurance products, conclude insurance contracts and provide insurance services by setting up self-operated network platforms or entrusting insurance intermediaries on their self-operated network platforms.

 

Insurance companies that meet relevant requirements of this Notice can conduct internet life insurance business without branches nationwide. If an insurance company entrusts an insurance intermediary to carry out internet life insurance business, the insurance intermediary should be a national institution. Where internet and offline distributions are both involved in a life insurance business, internet life insurance products shall not be sold, and the business area shall not be extended to areas without branches.

 

In order to carry out internet life insurance business, insurers (excluding internet insurance companies) shall meet the following conditions: (i) the comprehensive solvency ratio shall reach 120% and the core solvency ratio shall be no less than 75% for four consecutive quarters; (ii) the comprehensive risk rating shall be Class B or above for four consecutive quarters; (iii) the liability reserve adequacy ratio shall be higher than 100% for four consecutive quarters; (iv) the corporate governance level shall be C (qualified) or above; and (v) other conditions stipulated by the CBIRC.

 

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Internet life insurance products are limited to accident insurance, health insurance (excluding long-term care insurance), term life insurance, life insurance with a coverage period of more than 10 years (excluding term life insurance), annuity insurance with a coverage period of more than 10 years, and other life insurance products stipulated by the CBIRC. Internet life insurance products that do not meet the requirements shall not be sold online, and their sales webpages shall not be publicly displayed on the internet or directly linked to from other webpages.

 

An insurance company applying for approval or distributing a newly approved life insurance with a payment period of more than 10 years (excluding term life insurance) and annuity insurance products with a coverage period of more than 10 years must meet the following conditions: (i) the comprehensive solvency ratio shall exceed 150% and the core solvency ratio shall be no less than 100% for four consecutive quarters; (ii) the comprehensive solvency margin shall exceed RMB3 billion for four consecutive quarters; (iii) the comprehensive risk rating shall be above Class A for four consecutive quarters (or six quarters within two years); (iv) no major administrative penalty imposed on the internet insurance business in the previous year; (v) the corporate governance level shall be B (good) or above; and (vi) other conditions stipulated by the CBIRC.

 

Insurance intermediaries selling life insurance with a payment period of more than 10 years (excluding term life insurance) and annuity insurance products with a coverage period of more than 10 years shall meet the following conditions: (i) experience in internet life insurance business for more than three years; (ii) complete sales management, policy management and customer service systems, as well as a safe, efficient and real-time internet payment and settlement system and process; (iii) no major administrative penalty imposed on the internet insurance business in the previous year; and (iv) other conditions stipulated by the CBIRC.

 

Regulations on Foreign Exchange

 

Foreign Currency Exchange

 

Foreign exchange regulation in China is primarily governed by the following rules:

 

  Foreign Currency Administration Rules (1996), as amended pursuant to the Decision on Revising the Foreign Currency Administration Rules promulgated by the State Council on January 14, 1997 and the Foreign Currency Administration Rules promulgated by the State Council on August 5, 2008; and

 

  Administration Rules of the Settlement, Sale and Payment of Foreign Exchange.

 

Under the Foreign Currency Administration Rules, the RMB is convertible for current account items, including the distribution of dividends, interest payments, trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions. Conversion of RMB for capital account items, such as direct investment, loan, security investment and repatriation of investment, however, is still subject to the approval of the SAFE. 

 

Under the Administration Rules of the Settlement, Sale and Payment of Foreign Exchange, foreign-invested enterprises may only buy, sell or remit foreign currencies at those banks authorized to conduct foreign exchange business after providing valid commercial documents and, in the case of capital account item transactions, obtaining approval from the SAFE. Capital investments by foreign-invested enterprises outside of China are also subject to limitations, which include approvals by the Ministry of Commerce, the SAFE and the State Development and Reform Commission.

 

Foreign Exchange Registration of Offshore Investment by PRC Residents

 

Pursuant to the SAFE Circular 37, issued on July 4, 2014, prior to making contribution to a SPC with legitimate holdings of domestic or overseas assets or interests, a PRC resident (including PRC institutions and resident individuals) shall apply to the relevant Foreign Exchange Bureau for foreign exchange registration of overseas investment. A PRC resident who makes contribution with legitimate holdings of domestic assets or interests shall apply for registration to the Foreign Exchange Bureau at its place of registration or the Foreign Exchange Bureau at the locus of the assets or interests of the relevant PRC enterprise. A PRC resident who makes contribution with legitimate holdings of overseas assets or interests shall apply for registration to the Foreign Exchange Bureau at its place of registration or household register. Where a registered overseas SPC experiences changes of its PRC resident individual shareholder, its name, operating period or other basic information, or experiences changes of material matters, such as the increase or reduction of contribution by the PRC resident individual, the transfer or replacement of equity, or merger or division, the PRC resident shall promptly change the foreign exchange registration of overseas investment with the Foreign Exchange Bureau concerned. Under SAFE Circular 37, failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth above may result in the penalties, including imposition of restrictions on a PRC subsidiary’s foreign exchange activities and its ability to distribute dividends to the SPV. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents and employee stock options granted by overseas-listed companies may increase our administrative burden, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activity, or otherwise adversely affect us. If our shareholders who are PRC residents, or our PRC employees who are granted or exercise stock options, fail to make any required registrations or filings under such regulations, we may be unable to distribute profits and may become subject to liability under PRC laws. We may also face regulatory uncertainties that could restrict our ability to adopt additional equity compensation plans for our directors and employees and other parties under PRC law.”

 

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SAFE Regulations on Employee Share Options

 

On December 25, 2006, the PBOC promulgated the “Measures for the Administration of Individual Foreign Exchange,” and on January 5, 2007, the SAFE further promulgated the implementation rules on those measures. Both became effective on February 1, 2007. According to the implementation rules, PRC citizens who are granted shares or share options by a company listed on an overseas stock market according to its employee share option or share incentive plan are required, through the PRC subsidiary of such overseas listed company or any other qualified PRC agent, to register with the SAFE and to complete certain other procedures related to the share option or other share incentive plan. Foreign exchange income received from the sale of shares or dividends distributed by the overseas listed company may be remitted into a foreign currency account of such PRC citizen or be exchanged into Renminbi. Our PRC citizen employees who have been granted share options are subject to the Individual Foreign Exchange Rules.

 

On March 28, 2007, SAFE promulgated the Operating Rules for Administration of Foreign Exchange in Domestic Individuals’ Participation in Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Stock Option plans of Companies Listed Abroad, or the Operating Rules. Stock Option Rule. On February 15, 2012, SAFE promulgated the No. 7 Notice, which supersedes the Stock Option Rule in its entirety and immediately became effective upon circulation. According to the No. 7 Notice, domestic individuals, which include any directors, supervisors, senior managerial personnel or other employees of a domestic company who are Chinese citizens (including citizens of Hong Kong SAR, Macau and Taiwan) or foreign individuals who consecutively reside in the territory of PRC for one year, who participate in the same equity incentive plan of an overseas listed company shall, through the domestic companies they serve, collectively entrust a domestic agency to handle issues such as foreign exchange registration, account opening, funds transfer and remittance, and entrust an overseas institution to handle issues such as exercise of options, purchasing and sale of related stocks or equity, and funds transfer. Where a domestic agency needs to remit funds out of China as required for individuals’ participation in an equity incentive plan, the domestic agency shall apply with the local office of the SAFE for a foreign exchange payment quota on a yearly basis. A domestic agency shall open a domestic special foreign exchange account in the bank. After repatriation of foreign currency income earned by individuals from participation in an equity incentive plan, the domestic agency shall request the bank to transfer the funds from its special foreign currency account to respective personal foreign currency deposit accounts. In the case of any significant change to the equity incentive plan of a company listed abroad (such as amendment to any major terms of the original plan, addition of a new plan, or other changes to the original plan due to merger, acquisition or reorganization of the overseas listed company or the domestic company or other major events), the domestic agency or the overseas trustee, the domestic agency shall, within three months of the occurrence of such changes, go through procedures for change of foreign exchange registration with the local office of the SAFE. The SAFE and its branches shall supervise, administer and inspect foreign exchange operations related to individuals’ participation in equity incentive plans of companies listed abroad, and may take regulatory measures and impose administrative sanctions on individuals, domestic companies, domestic agencies and banks violating the provisions of the No. 7 Notice.

 

We and our employees who have been granted applicable equity awards shall be subject to the No. 7 Notice. If we fail to comply with the No. 7 Notice, we and/or our employees who are subject to the No. 7 Notice may face sanctions imposed by foreign exchange authority or any other PRC government authorities.

 

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Foreign Investment Security Review Measures

 

On December 19, 2020, the NDRC and MOFCOM promulgated the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, which took effect on January 18, 2021. Under the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, investments in military, national defense-related areas or in locations in proximity to military facilities, or investments that would result in acquiring the actual control of assets in certain key sectors, such as critical agricultural products, energy and resources, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, cultural products and services, IT, internet products and services, financial services and technology sectors, are required to be approved by designated governmental authorities in advance. Although the term “investment through other means” is not clearly defined under the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures, we cannot rule out the possibility that control through contractual arrangement may be regarded as a form of actual control and therefore require approval from the competent governmental authority. As the Foreign Investment Security Review Measures were recently promulgated, there are great uncertainties with respect to its interpretation and implementation. Accordingly, there are substantial uncertainties as to whether our VIE structure may be deemed as a method of foreign investment in the future.

 

Regulation on Information Security

 

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Cybersecurity Law of the PRC, or the Cybersecurity Law, which became effective on June 1, 2017, to protect cyberspace security and order. Pursuant to the Cybersecurity Law, any individual or organization using the network must comply with the constitution and the applicable laws, follow the public order and respect social moralities, and must not endanger cybersecurity, or engage in activities by making use of the network that endanger the national security, honor and interests; incite subversion of state power; overthrow the socialist system; incite secession, undermining national unity, terrorism and extremism promotion, ethnic hatred and discrimination; spread violence and disseminate pornographic information, fabricating and spreading false information that disturbs economic and social order; or infringe on the fame, privacy, intellectual property and other legitimate rights and interests of others. The Cybersecurity Law sets forth various security protection obligations for network operators, which are defined as “owners and administrators of networks and network service providers,” including, among others, complying with a series of requirements of tiered cyber protection systems; verifying users’ real identity; localizing the personal information and important data gathered and produced by key information infrastructure operators during operations within the PRC; and providing assistance and support to government authorities where necessary for protecting national security and investigating crimes.

 

On December 28, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China, or the CAC, the NDRC, the MIIT, and several other administrations jointly promulgated the Cybersecurity Review Measures, which took effect on February 15, 2022. The Cybersecurity Review Measures replaces its previous version promulgated on April 13, 2020. According to the Cybersecurity Review Measures, (i) when the purchase of network products and services by a critical information infrastructures operator or the data processing activities conducted by a network platform operator affect or may affect national security, a cybersecurity review shall be conducted pursuant to the Cybersecurity Review Measures. The aforesaid operators shall file for a cybersecurity review with Cybersecurity Review Office under the CAC if their behavior affects or may affect national security; (ii) an application for cybersecurity review shall be made by an issuer who is a network platform operator holding personal information of more than one million users before such issuer applies to list its securities on a foreign stock exchange; and (iii) the relevant PRC governmental authorities may initiate cybersecurity review if such governmental authorities determine that the issuer’s network products or services, or data processing activities affect or may affect national security. Cybersecurity reviews focus on assessing the following national security risks factors associated with relevant objects or circumstances: (i) the risk of illegal control, interference or destruction of critical information infrastructure, arising from the purchase and utilization of network products and services; (ii) the harm on the business continuity of critical information infrastructure incurring from a disruption of network products and services supply; (iii) the safety, openness, transparency, diversity of sources of network products and services; the reliability of suppliers; and the risk of supply disruption due to political, diplomatic, trade and other reasons; (iv) the level of compliance with the PRC laws, administrative regulations and ministry rules of the suppliers of network products and services; (v) the risk of core data, important data or a large amount of personal information being stolen, leaked, destroyed, and illegally used or illegally exited the country; (vi) the risk of critical information infrastructure, core data, important data or a large amount of personal information being affected, controlled, or maliciously used by foreign governments and the network information security risk in relation to listing abroad; and (vii) other factors that may harm critical information infrastructure, cyber security and/or data security. 

 

The Administrative Provisions on the Account Information of Internet Users, which was promulgated by the CAC on June 27, 2022 and became effective on August 1, 2022, sets out guidelines on the administration of the account information of internet users. Internet-based information service providers shall perform their responsibilities as the administrative subjects of the account information of internet users, have in place professionals and technical capacity appropriate to the scale of services, and establish, improve and strictly implement the authentication of real identity information, verification of account information, security of information content, ecological governance, emergency responses, protection of personal information and other management systems.

 

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On July 7, 2022, the CAC promulgated the Data Outbound Transfer Security Assessment Measures, or the Security Assessment Measures, which became effective on September 1, 2022. The Security Assessment Measures provide that, among others, data processors shall apply to competent authorities for security assessment when (i) the data processors transferring important data abroad; (ii) a CIIO and personal information processor that has processed personal information of more than one million people, transferring personal information abroad; (iii) a data processor who has provided personal information of one hundred thousand individuals or sensitive personal information of ten thousands individuals to overseas recipients, in each case as calculated cumulatively, since January 1 of the previous year; and (iv) other circumstances where the security assessment of data cross-border transfer is required as prescribed by the CAC.

 

To comply with these laws and regulations, we have adopted security policies and measures to to strengthen our defense against security threats and protect our cyber system and customer information, thereby ensuring security and continuity of our services. We also provide regular training to ensure that our employees understand that information security is everyone’s responsibility.

 

Regulation on Internet Privacy

 

Pursuant to the Administrative Provisions on Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, effective on August 1, 2016 and amended on June 14, 2022 and effective on August 1, 2022, owners or operators of mobile applications that provide information services shall obtain the relevant qualifications prescribed by laws and regulations, strictly implement their information content administrator responsibilities and carry out certain duties, including to authenticate the real identity information of users, establish and complete information content inspection and management mechanisms, perform the data security protection obligations and regulate personal information processing activities. On May 8, 2017, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate released the Interpretations of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases Involving Infringement of Citizens’ Personal Information, which clarifies several concepts regarding the crime of “infringement of citizens’ personal information” stipulated by Article 253A of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, including “citizen’s personal information,” “provision” and “unlawful acquisition of citizens’ personal information.” Also, it specifies the standards for determining the “serious circumstances” and “particularly serious circumstances” of this crime.

 

On June 10, 2021, the Data Security Law was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and became effective on September 1, 2021. The Data Security Law mainly sets forth specific provisions regarding establishing basic systems for data security management, including a hierarchical data classification management system, risk assessment system, monitoring and early warning system, and emergency disposal system. In addition, it clarifies the data security protection obligations of organizations and individuals carrying out data activities and implementing data security protection responsibility.

 

On August 20, 2021, the Personal Information Protection Law was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and became effective on November 1, 2021. The Personal Information Protection Law provides for various requirements on personal information protection, including the legal basis for data collection and processing, requirements on data localization and cross-border data transfer, requirements for consent of personal data collection and processing, and requirements on processing sensitive personal information. The Personal Information Protection Law also provides that the customers shall be entitled to opt out of the information recommendation or commercial marketing to individuals conducted by means of automated decision-making, or to be provided simultaneously with options not specific to individuals’ characteristics.

 

To comply with these laws and regulations, we collect and use personal information and data from our customers with their prior consent, and have established information security systems to protect customers’ privacy. There are uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation of these data security laws and regulations, so our data-related measures may be subject to additional compliance requirements and regulatory burdens, and we may be required to make further adjustments to our business practices to comply with the interpretation and implementation of such laws. 

 

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Regulations on Dividend Distribution

 

Before January 1, 2020, the principal regulations governing dividend distributions of wholly foreign-owned companies include:

 

  Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise Law (1986), as amended pursuant to the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Revising the Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise Law promulgated on October 31, 2000 and The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Revising the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign-invested Enterprises” which promulgated on September 3,2016 and took effect on October 1, 2016; and

 

  Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise Law Implementing Rules (1990), as amended pursuant to the Decision of the State Council on Amending the Rules for the Implementation of the Law on Foreign-Owned Enterprises promulgated by the State Council on April 12, 2001 and the Decision of the State Council on Amending the Rules for the Implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign-capital Enterprises which took effect as of the promulgation date of March 1, 2014.

 

Under these regulations, wholly foreign-owned companies in the PRC may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards. In addition, these wholly foreign-owned companies are required to set aside at least 10% of their respective accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds, until the accumulative amount of such fund reaches 50% of its registered capital. These reserve funds are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

With the Foreign Investment Law becoming effective on January 1, 2020, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations are no longer applicable. The Foreign Investment Law and its implementation rule, named as Implementing Regulations of the Foreign Investment Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Implementing Regulations, does not specify the rules of dividend distribution of wholly foreign-owned companies, however, article 31 of the Foreign Investment Law states that the organizational form, organizational structure and their activities of a foreign-invested enterprise shall be governed by the provisions of the PRC Company Law, PRC Partnership Enterprise Law and other relevant laws, article 46 of the Implementing Regulations states that after the organizational forms, organizational structures, etc. of existing Foreign-invested Enterprises have been adjusted pursuant to the law, existing parties to Sino-foreign equity or cooperative joint ventures may continue to handle relevant matters according to the method of equity or interest transfer, the method of income distribution, the method of surplus assets distribution, etc. agreed in the relevant contracts. Therefore, relevant PRC laws such as PRC Company Law may apply to the dividend distribution of Foreign-owned companies, and the methods of dividend distribution stated in the current articles of association of the foreign-owned companies may still be applicable.

 

Regulation on Overseas Listing

 

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, namely, the PRC Ministry of Commerce, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration for Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the CSRC and the SAFE, jointly adopted the Provisions on Foreign Investors’ Merger with and Acquisition of Domestic Enterprises, or the Order No. 10 (2006) which became effective on September 8, 2006 and was amended on June 22, 2009. The Order No. 10 (2006) purports, among other things, to require offshore SPVs, formed for overseas listing purposes and controlled by PRC companies or individuals, to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC published a notice on its official website specifying documents and materials required to be submitted to it by SPVs seeking CSRC approval of their overseas listings. 

 

On February 17, 2023, the CSRC released the Trial Administrative Measures of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, or the Overseas Listing Trial Measures and five supporting guidelines, which came into effect on March 31, 2023. According to the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, (1) domestic companies that seek to offer or list securities overseas, both directly and indirectly, should fulfill the filing procedure and report relevant information to the CSRC; (2) if the issuer meets both of the following conditions, the overseas offering and listing shall be determined as an indirect overseas offering and listing by a domestic company: (i) the total assets, net assets, revenues or profits of the domestic operating entity of the issuer in the most recent accounting year account for more than 50% of the corresponding figure in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statements for the same period; (ii) the senior managers in charge of business operation and management of the issuer are mostly Chinese citizens or have domicile in China, and its main places of business are located in China or main business activities are conducted in China; and (3) where a domestic company seeks to indirectly offer and list securities in an overseas market, the issuer shall designate a major domestic operating entity, which shall, as the filing entity, fulfil the due filing and reporting obligations with the CSRC, and where an issuer makes an application for listing in an overseas market, the issuer shall submit filings with the CSRC within three business days after such application is submitted.

 

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Simultaneously, the CSRC issued the Notice on the Administrative Arrangements for the Filing of Overseas Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, which, among others, clarifies that the domestic companies that have already been listed overseas on or before the effective date of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures (i.e., March 31, 2023) shall be deemed as existing issuers, or the Existing Issuers. Existing Issuers are not required to complete the filling procedures, and they shall be required to file with the CSRC when subsequent matters such as refinancing are involved.

 

According to the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, an overseas listed company shall file with the CSRC within three business days after the completion of its subsequent securities offering on the same market, and an overseas listed company shall file with the CSRC within three business days after its application of offering and listing on a different market. If an overseas listed company purchases PRC domestic assets through a single or multiple acquisitions, share swaps, shares transfers or other means, and such purchase constitutes direct or indirect listing of PRC domestic assets, a filing with the CSRC is also required. In addition, an overseas listed company is required to report to the CSRC the occurrence of any of the following material events within three business days after the occurrence and announcement thereof: (i) a change of control of the listed company; (ii) the investigation, sanction or other measures undertaken by any foreign securities regulatory agencies or relevant competent authorities in respect of the listed company; (iii) a change of listing status or transfer of listing segment; and (iv) the voluntary or mandatory delisting of the listed company. If an issuer’s main business undergoes material change and is therefore beyond the scope of business stated in the filing, such issuer shall submit to the CSRC an ad hoc report and relevant legal opinion issued by a domestic law firm within three business days after occurrence of the change.

 

Our PRC legal counsel, Hai Run Law Firm, has advised us that, should we seek to (i) offer or list subsequent securities on U.S. stock exchanges, (ii) offer or list securities on other overseas stock exchange, or (iii) purchase PRC domestic assets through a single or multiple acquisitions, share swaps, shares transfers or other means, and such purchase constitutes direct or indirect listing of PRC domestic assets, we are required to file with the CSRC. However, our PRC legal counsel has further advised us that there are substantial uncertainties as to how the M&A Rules and Overseas Listing Trial Measures will be interpreted or implemented in the context of an overseas offering, and its opinions summarized above are subject to any new laws, rules and regulations or detailed implementations and interpretations in any form relating to the M&A Rules and Overseas Listing Trial Measures.

 

On February 24, 2023, the Provisions on Strengthening the Confidentiality and Archives Administration of Overseas Securities Issuance and Listing by Domestic Enterprises was promulgated, or the Provision on Confidentiality, which became effective on March 31, 2023. Pursuant to the Provision on Confidentiality, where a domestic enterprise publicly discloses or provides documents and materials involving state secrets and working secrets of state organs, or Relevant Documents and Materials, to the relevant securities companies, securities service institutions, overseas regulatory authorities and other entities and individuals, or provides or publicly discloses Relevant Documents and Materials through its overseas listing subjects, it shall report to the competent department with the examination and approval authority for approval in accordance with the law, and submit to the secrecy administration department of the same level for filing. Where a domestic enterprises provides accounting archives or copies of such archives to entities and individuals such as securities companies, securities service institutions and overseas regulatory authorities, it shall complete the corresponding procedures pursuant to relevant rules of the State. The working materials formed within the territory of the PRC by the securities companies and securities service institutions that provide corresponding services for the overseas issuance and listing of domestic enterprises shall be kept within the territory of the PRC, and outbound transfers of such materials shall go through approval procedures in accordance with relevant rules of the State.

 

At the time of our initial public offering in October 2007, while the application of the M&A Rule remained unclear, our then PRC legal counsel at the time, Commerce& Finance Law Offices, had advised us that, based on their understanding of the then PRC laws and regulations as well as the procedures announced on September 21, 2006:

 

  the CSRC had jurisdiction over our initial public offering;

 

  the CSRC had not issued any definitive rule or interpretation concerning whether offerings like our initial public offering are subject to the M&A Rule; and

 

  despite the above, given that we had completed our inbound investment before September 8, 2006, the effective date of the M&A Rule, an application was not required under the M&A Rule to be submitted to the CSRC for its approval of the listing and trading of our ADSs on the Nasdaq Global Market, unless we are clearly required to do so by subsequent rules of the CSRC.

 

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Based on the advice of our PRC legal counsel , we did not seek CSRC’s approval for our initial public offering. Any requirement to obtain prior CSRC approval and a failure to obtain this approval, if required, could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, reputation and trading price of our ADSs.

 

Regulations on Tax

 

PRC Enterprise Income Tax

 

The PRC EIT is calculated based on the taxable income determined under the PRC accounting standards and regulations, as well as the EIT law. On March 16, 2007, the National People’s Congress of China enacted the EIT Law, a new EIT law which became effective on January 1, 2008, which was subsequently amended on March 16, 2007, February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018. On December 6, 2007, the State Council promulgated the Implementation Rules which also became effective on January 1, 2008. On December 26, 2007, the State Council issued the Notice on Implementation of Enterprise Income Tax Transition Preferential Policy under the EIT Law, or the Transition Preferential Policy Circular, which became effective simultaneously with the EIT Law. The EIT Law imposes a uniform EIT rate of 25% on all domestic enterprises and foreign-invested enterprises unless they qualify under certain exceptions. Under the EIT Law, as further clarified by the Implementation Rules, the Transition Preferential Policy Circular and other related regulations, enterprises that were established and already enjoyed preferential tax treatments before March 16, 2007 will continue to enjoy them in the following manners: (i) in the case of preferential tax rates, for a five-year period starting from January 1, 2008, during which the tax rate will gradually increase to 25%; or (ii) in the case of preferential tax exemption or reduction for a specified term, until the expiration of such term. However, if such an enterprise has not enjoyed the preferential treatments yet because of its failure to make a profit, its term for preferential treatment will be deemed to start from 2008. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law may increase the enterprise income tax rate applicable to some of our PRC subsidiaries which could have a material adverse effect on our result of operations.”

 

Under the New Income Tax law, enterprises are classified as either resident or non-resident. A resident enterprise refers to one that is incorporated under the PRC law or under the law of a jurisdiction outside the PRC with its “de facto management organization” located within the PRC. Non-resident enterprise refers to one that is incorporated under the law of a jurisdiction outside the PRC with its “de facto management organization” located also outside the PRC, but which has either set up institutions or establishments in the PRC or has income originating from the PRC without setting up any institution or establishment in the PRC. Under the New Enterprise Income Tax, Implementation Regulation, or the New EIT Implementation Regulations, “de facto management organization” is defined as the organization of an enterprise through which substantial and comprehensive management and control over the business, operations, personnel, accounting and properties of the enterprise are exercised. Under the New Income Tax Law and the New EIT Implementation Regulation, a resident enterprise’s global net income will be subject to a 25% EIT rate. On April 22, 2009, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, issued SAT Circular 82, which provides certain specific criteria for determining whether the “de facto management body” of a PRC-controlled enterprise that is incorporated offshore is located in China. In addition, the SAT issued a bulletin on July 27, 2011 providing more guidance on the implementation of Circular 82 and clarifying matters such as resident status determination. Due to the present uncertainties resulting from the limited PRC tax guidance on this issue and because substantially all of our operations and all of our senior management are located within China, we may be considered a PRC resident enterprise for EIT purposes, in which case: (i) we would be subject to the PRC EIT at the rate of 25% on our worldwide income; and (ii) dividends income received by us from our PRC subsidiaries, however, would be exempt from the PRC withholding tax since such income is exempted under the EIT Law for a PRC resident enterprise recipient. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Our global income or the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to PRC tax under the EIT Law, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.” 

 

PRC Business Tax and VAT

 

Taxpayers providing taxable services in China are required to pay a business tax at a normal tax rate of 5% of their revenues, unless otherwise provided. According to the Announcement on the VAT Reform Pilot Program of the Transportation and Selected Modern Service Sectors issued by the State Tax Bureau in July 2012, the transportation and some selected modern service sectors, including research and development and technical services, information technology services, cultural creative services, logistics support services, tangible personal property leasing services, and assurance and consulting service sectors, should pay value-added tax instead of business tax based on a predetermined timetable (hereinafter referred to as the “VAT Reform”), effective September 1, 2012 for entities in Beijing and November 1, 2012 for entities in Guangdong. The VAT Reform expanded nation-wide from August 1, 2013.

 

In March 2016, during the fourth session of the 12th National People’s Congress, it was announced that the VAT reform will be fully rolled out and extended to all industries including construction, real estate, financial services and lifestyle services. Subsequently, the SAT and Ministry of Finance jointly issued a Notice on Preparing for the Full Implementation of the VAT Reform (Cai Shui [2016] No. 36). Accordingly, we started to pay value-added tax instead of business tax from May 1, 2016.

 

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Dividend Withholding Tax

 

Under the PRC tax laws effective prior to January 1, 2008, dividends paid to foreign investors by foreign-invested enterprises are exempt from PRC withholding tax. Pursuant to the EIT Law and the Implementation Rules, dividends generated after January 1, 2008 and distributed to us by our PRC subsidiaries through our BVI subsidiary are subject to a 10% withholding tax, provided that we are determined by the relevant PRC tax authorities to be a “non-resident enterprise” under the EIT Law. Pursuant to the Avoidance of Double Taxation Arrangement, which became effective on January 1, 2007, which was subsequently amended on January 30, 2008, May 27, 2010, April 1, 2015 and July 19, 2019, dividends from our PRC subsidiaries paid to us through our Hong Kong SAR wholly-owned subsidiary CNinsure Holdings Ltd. are subject to a withholding tax at a rate of 5%. However, as described above, we may be considered a PRC resident enterprise for EIT purposes, in which case dividends received by us from our PRC subsidiary would be exempt from the PRC withholding tax because such income is exempted under the EIT Law for a PRC resident enterprise recipient. In July 2018, CNinsure Holdings Ltd. was determined by Hong Kong SAR Taxation Bureau to be a Hong Kong SAR resident enterprise and completed the application and filing process for enjoying the tax treaty in PRC Taxation Bureau therefore we have applied 5% withholding tax rate for the dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries since then. As there remains uncertainty regarding the interpretation and implementation of the EIT Law and the Implementation Rules, it is uncertain whether any dividends to be distributed by us, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, to our non-PRC shareholders and ADS holders would be subject to any PRC withholding tax. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Our global income or the dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be subject to PRC tax under the EIT Law, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.”

 

C. Organizational Structure

 

Corporate Structure

 

We are a Cayman Islands holding company primarily operating in China through (i) our PRC subsidiaries, including Zhonglian Enterprise, and Xinlian Information, and their subsidiaries in which we hold equity ownership interests, and (ii) contractual arrangements among (x) our wholly-owned PRC subsidiaries Fanhua Group Company and Fanlian Investment, (y) the consolidated VIEs, namely, Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies, and (z) the individual nominee shareholders of the consolidated VIEs. Fanhua Inc. holds 49% equity interests in Xinbao Investment. PRC laws and regulations restrict and impose conditions on foreign ownership and investment in certain internet-based businesses. Accordingly, we operate these businesses in China through the consolidated VIEs and their subsidiaries, and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, the consolidated VIEs and their respective shareholders to control the business operations of the consolidated VIEs and their subsidiaries.

 

Major Changes in our Corporate Structure

 

To remain compliant with the regulatory requirements for conducting online insurance business through Baoxian.com, we commenced a restructuring of our online operations in 2021. As a result of the restructuring, Fanhua Group Company’s direct equity interests in Xinbao Investment, which directly owns 100% of Fanhua RONS, the licensed operating entity of Baoxian.com, was reduced from 100% to 49% and the remaining 51% equity interests were owned by an individual who is nominally holding the shares on behalf of Fanhua. Concurrently, Fanhua Group Company entered into contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and its individual nominee shareholder to control and receive economic benefits from the consolidated VIEs.

 

On June 24, 2022, our wholly owned subsidiary Fanlian Investment transferred all of the equity interests in Fanhua RONS Technologies to Mr. Peng Ge, our chief financial officer to hold the shares of Fanhua RONS Technologies nominally on behalf of the Company. Concurrently, Fanlian Investment entered into contractual arrangements with Fanhua RONS Technologies and Mr. Ge. The contractual arrangements are substantially similar to those among Fanhua Group Company, Xinbao Investment and its individual nominee shareholder.

 

In December 2023, we transferred all of our 4.46% equity interests in HPH, or 4,033,600 ordinary shares of HPH, back to HPH. Concurrently, our wholly-owned subsidiary acquired 15.41% equity interests in Puyi Fund, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HPH, in exchange of the aforementioned 4,033,600 ordinary shares of HPH repurchased by HPH and an additional cash consideration of approximately RMB10.5 million. Upon completion of the transactions, Fanhua ceased to directly hold any equity interest in HPH.

 

In 2023, we, through BWWS Limited, our wholly-owned subsidiary, established two joint ventures with Asia Insurance, namely Brave Moon Co., Ltd, and Avantech Solutions Co., Ltd., to engage in insurance brokerage business and insurance technology services, respectively, in Hong Kong SAR. We also acquired Pacific Concord Insurance Consultants Ltd. through Brave Moon Co., Ltd. in 2023, which owns an insurance broker license in Hong Kong SAR, and later renamed it as Aasure Insurance Broker Ltd.

 

As a result, we currently conduct our insurance agency and claims adjusting business in mainly China primarily through our wholly-owned subsidiary Fanhua Group Company and its subsidiaries and a small part of our business through our consolidated VIEs in mainland China and our business in Hong Kong SAR through our wholly-owned subsidiary BWWS Limited.

 

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As of March 31, 2024, we, through Fanhua Group Company, have controlling equity ownership in one insurance sales services company with a national operating license, one managing general agency with brokerage license, six regional insurance agencies, two insurance claims adjusting firms and one healthcare management service company which also operates an online mutual aid platform. In addition, through contractual arrangements, we control one insurance sales services company with a national operating license to operate online insurance distribution business, two regional insurance agencies and one brokerage firm. We also have controlling interests in one insurance brokerage firm, one insurance agency and an insurance technology company in Hong Kong SAR. We also own 15.41% equity interests in Puyi Fund, a licensed fund distributor.

 

Fanhua Group Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries and our consolidated VIEs hold the licenses and permits necessary to conduct our insurance intermediary business and internet insurance distribution business in China.

 

The following diagram illustrates the corporate structure of us and the consolidated VIEs, including the names, places of incorporation and the proportion of ownership interests in our and the consolidated VIEs’ significant subsidiaries and their respective subsidiaries as of March 31, 2024:

 

 

The diagram above omits the names of subsidiaries that are immaterial individually and in the aggregate. For a complete list of our subsidiaries as of March 31, 2024, see Exhibit 8.1 to this annual report. 

 

The following is a summary of the key terms of our contractual arrangements with our consolidated VIEs Xinbao Investment, Fanhua RONS Technologies and their respective subsidiaries, and with their respective individual nominee shareholders.

 

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Agreements that Provide Us Effective Control over Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies

 

Loan Agreement.

 

Xinbao Investment. On December 6, 2021, Mr. Shuangping Jiang, the shareholder of Xinbao Investment, entered into a loan agreement with Fanhua Group Company, or the Fanhua Group Company Loan. The principal loan amounts extended by Fanhua Group Company to Mr. Shuangping Jiang is RMB4.1 million, equal to his capital contributions to Xinbao Investment.

 

The term of the loan agreement is for ten years, which cannot be automatically extended but may be extended upon written agreement of the parties. If the loan is not extended, then upon its expiration and subject to then applicable PRC laws, the loan can be repaid only with the proceeds from a transfer of the individual shareholder’s equity interests in Xinbao Investment to Fanhua Group Company or another person or entity designated by Fanhua Group Company. Fanhua Group Company may accelerate the loan repayment upon certain events, including if the individual shareholder resigns or is dismissed from employment by us or if Fanhua Group Company exercises its option to purchase the shareholder’s equity interests in Xinbao Investment pursuant to the exclusive purchase option agreements described below.

 

The loan agreement contains a number of covenants that restrict the actions the individual shareholder can take or cause Xinbao Investment to take, and also require the individual shareholder to take or cause Xinbao Investment to take specific actions. For example, the individual shareholders must:

 

  not transfer, pledge or otherwise dispose of or encumber his equity interests in Xinbao Investment, except for equity pledge for the benefit of Fanhua Group Company, without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company;

 

  not take any action that will have a material impact on the assets, business and liabilities of Xinbao Investment without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company;

 

  not vote for, or execute any resolution to approve, the sale, transfer, mortgage, or disposal of, or the creation of any encumbrance on, any legal or beneficial interests in the equity of Xinbao Investment, except to Fanhua Group Company or its designee, without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company;

 

  not vote for, or execute any resolutions to approve, any merger or consolidation with any person, or any acquisition of or investment in any person by Xinbao Investment without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company;

 

  vote to elect the director candidates nominated by Fanhua Group Company;

 

  cause Xinbao Investment not to supplement, amend or modify its articles of association in any manner, increase or decrease its registered capital or change the capital structure in any way without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company; and

 

  cause Xinbao Investment not to execute any contract with a value exceeding RMB100,000, except in the ordinary course of business, without the prior written consent of Fanhua Group Company.

 

Fanhua RONS Technologies. The individual shareholder of Fanhua RONS Technologies, being Mr. Peng Ge, who is our chief financial officer, entered into a loan agreement on July 1, 2022 with our subsidiary Fanlian Investment, or the Fanlian Loan, for a zero interest loan from Fanlian Investment. The principal amount lent to Mr. Ge is RMB20.0 million (US$2.9 million). The terms of the Fanlian Loan are similar to those of the Fanhua Group Company Loans described above.

  

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Equity Pledge Agreement.

 

Xinbao Investment. Mr. Shuangping Jiang entered into an equity pledge agreement on December 6, 2021, pledging his equity interest in Xinbao Investment to Fanhua Group Company to secure his obligations under the loan agreement. Mr. Jiang also agreed not to transfer or create any encumbrances adverse to Fanhua Group Company on his equity interests in Xinbao Investment. During the term of the equity pledge agreement, Fanhua Group Company is entitled to all the dividends declared on the pledged equity interests. The equity pledge agreement will expire when the individual shareholder fully performs his obligations under the loan agreement. The equity pledge was recorded on the shareholder’ register of Xinbao Investment, and registered with the relevant local bureaus of the State Administration for Market Regulation.

 

Fanhua RONS Technologies. Mr. Peng Ge, entered into an equity pledge agreement on July 1, 2022, pledging his equity interests in Fanhua RONS Technologies to Fanlian Investment to secure his obligations under the Fanlian Loan. Terms of the equity pledge agreement is substantially similar to equity pledge agreements for Xinbao Investment.

 

Power of Attorney.

 

Xinbao Investment. Mr. Jiang executed powers of attorney on December 6, 2021, each appointing a person designated by Fanhua Group Company as his attorney-in-fact on all matters requiring shareholder approval. Further, if Fanhua Group Company designates the shareholder to attend a shareholder’s meeting of Xinbao Investment, the individual shareholder agrees to vote his shares as instructed by Fanhua Group Company. The term of the power of attorney is for ten years.

 

Fanhua RONS Technologies. Mr. Peng Ge, the individual shareholders of Fanhua RONS Technologies, executed powers of attorney on July 1, 2022 appointing a person designated by Fanlian Investment as his attorney-in-fact on all matters requiring shareholder approval. Further, if Fanlian Investment designates the shareholder to attend a shareholder’s meeting of Fanhua RONS Technologies, the individual shareholder agrees to vote his shares as instructed by Fanlian Investment. The term of the power of attorney is for ten years.

 

Agreement that Provides Us the Option to Purchase the Equity Interests in Xinbao Investment

 

Exclusive Purchase Option Agreement.

 

Xinbao Investment. Mr. Jiang entered into an exclusive purchase option agreement on December 6, 2021 to irrevocably grant Fanhua Group Company an exclusive option to purchase all of his equity interests in Xinbao Investment, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. The purchase price will be the minimum price permitted under applicable PRC law.

 

Fanhua RONS Technologies. Mr. Ge entered into an exclusive purchase option agreement on July 1, 2022 to irrevocably grant Fanlian Investment an exclusive option to purchase all of his equity interests in Fanhua RONS Technologies, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. The purchase price will be the minimum price permitted under applicable PRC law.

 

Agreements that Transfer Economic Benefits to Us

 

Technology Consulting and Service Agreement. Pursuant to technology service agreements between (i) Fanhua Group Company, and (ii) Xinbao Investment and each of its subsidiaries, Fanhua Group Company agreed to provide Xinbao and its subsidiaries with training services and consulting and other services relating to IT platform and internal control compliance. In exchange, Xinbao and its subsidiaries agree to pay a quarterly fee calculated primarily based on a percentage of their revenues, which is currently waved until further written notice by Fanhua Group Company. Each of these agreements has a term of one year and will be automatically renewed for one-year term.

 

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Consulting and Service Agreement. Pursuant to the consulting and service agreements entered into between (i) Fanlian Investment, and (ii) Fanhua RONS Technologies and each of its subsidiaries, Fanlian Investment agreed to provide financial and tax consulting services to Fanhua RONS Technologies and each of its subsidiaries in exchange for fees payable quarterly calculated as a percentage of revenues of Fanhua RONS Technologies and each of its subsidiaries. Each of these agreements has an initial term of one year and will be automatically renewed for one-year term. The fee is currently waved by Fanlian Investment until further written notice by Fanlian Investment. 

 

Because of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment, Fanhua RONS Technologies and their subsidiaries and their individual nominee shareholders, we are the primary beneficiary of Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and their subsidiaries and we consolidate them into our consolidated financial statements. For the year ended December 31, 2023, aggregate revenues derived from these consolidated VIEs amounted to 3.8% of our total consolidated net revenues, based on our corporate structure as of December 31, 2023. As of December 31, 2023, the assets of our consolidated VIEs accounted for an aggregate of 3.4% of our consolidated total assets.

 

The cash flows that have occurred between our subsidiaries and our consolidated VIEs are summarized as the following:

 

The cash flows occurred between our subsidiaries and the consolidated VIEs included the following: (1) cash received by the VIEs from our subsidiaries as inter-company advances amounted to RMB39.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2023; and (2) commissions received offset by technology services paid by our subsidiaries to the VIEs amounted to RMB56.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2023.

 

Due to the restriction on foreign investment in the internet industry, we expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements to control and receive economic benefits from our current consolidated VIEs.

 

In the opinion of Hai Run Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel:

 

 

both the direct and indirect controlling equity ownership structures of our subsidiaries and our consolidated VIEs in China have complied with all existing PRC laws and regulations

 

  the contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, Xinbao Investment, Fanhua RONS Technologies, their subsidiaries, and their individual shareholders governed by PRC law are valid, binding and enforceable, and will not result in any violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect; and

 

  the business operations of our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated VIEs comply in all material respects with existing PRC laws and regulations.

 

We have been advised by our PRC legal counsel, however, that there are uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of PRC laws and regulations, such contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing operational control. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may in the future take a view that is contrary to the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel. We have been further advised by our PRC legal counsel that if the PRC government finds that the agreements establishing the structure for operating our online operations do not comply with PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in the internet industry, we could be subject to severe penalties including being prohibited from continuing operations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—Fanhua Inc. is a Cayman Islands holding company operating in China primarily through its subsidiaries and a small part of its business through contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies. Investors in the ADSs thus are not purchasing, and may never directly hold, all equity interests in the consolidated VIEs. There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations, and rules relating to such agreements that establish the VIE structure for our consolidated VIEs’ operations in China, including potential future actions by the PRC government, which could affect the enforceability of our contractual arrangements with Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies and, consequently, adversely affect the financial condition and results of operations of Fanhua Inc. If the PRC government finds such agreements non-compliant with relevant PRC laws, regulations, and rules, or if these laws, regulations, and rules or the interpretation thereof change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish part of our interests in Xinbao Investment and Fanhua RONS Technologies or forfeit our rights under the contractual arrangements.” To date we have not encountered any interference or encumbrance from the PRC government on account of operating our business through these agreements.

 

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D. Property, Plants and Equipment

 

Our headquarter is located in Guangzhou, China, where we leased approximately 2,828.8 square meters of office space as of December 31, 2023. Office space leased by our subsidiaries and consolidated VIEs, including certain space used and paid by sales teams, was approximately 131,765.0 square meters as of December 31, 2023. In 2023, our total rental expenses were RMB82.6 million (US$11.6million). 

 

Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

 

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included in this annual report. This discussion and analysis contain forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” or in other parts of this annual report. For discussion of 2022 items and year-over-year comparisons between 2022 and 2021 that are not included in this annual report on Form 20-F, refer to “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” found in our Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2022, that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 25, 2023.

 

A. Operating Results

 

Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

 

Our business is affected by various factors within the broader economic and regulatory landscape, both in China and in other jurisdictions where we operate. These include but are not limited to:

 

1. General economic conditions in China: The overall economic trajectory of China plays a pivotal role in shaping our operations, impacting market dynamics and consumer behavior;

 

2. Per Capita Disposable Income: The increase in per capita disposable income reflects evolving consumer spending patterns and influences demand for insurance and financial products;

 

3. Regulatory Changes: Regulatory shifts in China and other relevant jurisdictions significantly impact our business strategies, operations, and compliance requirements;

 

4. Industry-wide premium growth: We derive our revenue primarily from commissions and fees paid by insurance companies, typically calculated as a percentage of premiums paid by our customers to the insurance companies. Accordingly, industry-wide premium growth will have a positive impact on us. Any downturn in the Chinese insurance industry, whether caused by a general slowdown of the PRC economy or otherwise, may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations; 

 

5. Rising Insurance Awareness and Demand: The growing awareness of insurance and increasing demand for insurance products present opportunities for expansion and innovation in our service offerings; and

 

6. Competitive Environment: The competitive landscape in China poses challenges and opportunities, driving us to continuously enhance our technological capabilities and service differentiation to maintain our market position and achieve sustained growth.

 

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While our business is influenced by general factors affecting our industry, our operating results are more directly affected by the following company-specific factors:

 

business relationship with important insurance company partners;

  

  the extent to which insurance companies in the PRC outsource the distribution of their products and claims adjusting functions;

 

  premium rate levels and commission and fee rates;

 

  the quality and productivity of our sales force;
     
  successful implementation of our professionalization, digitalization and open platform strategy;

 

  commission rates for individual sales agents;

 

  product and service mix; and

 

  seasonality.

 

Business relationship with important insurance company partners

 

We derive significant revenue from our important insurance company partners. Among these top five of our insurance company partners, Sinatay accounted for 15.3% of our total net revenues in 2023. As a result, any significant changes to our business relationship with the important insurance company partners could have a material impact on our revenue and profit.

 

The extent to which insurance companies in the PRC outsource the distribution of their products and claims adjusting functions

 

Historically, insurance companies in the PRC have relied primarily on their exclusive individual sales agents and direct sales force to sell their products. However, in recent years, as a result of increased competition, consumers’ demand for more choices and regulatory focus on long term protection-oriented life insurance products, more and more insurance companies gradually expanded their distribution channels to include insurance intermediaries such as commercial banks, postal offices, professional insurance agencies and professional insurance brokerages. In addition, because of the increasingly high cost of establishing and maintaining distribution networks of their own, more and more medium-size insurance companies have chosen to rely primarily on insurance intermediaries to distribute their products while they focus on other aspects of their business.

 

As insurance companies in the PRC become more accustomed to outsourcing the distribution of their products to insurance intermediaries, they may allow insurance intermediaries to distribute a wider variety of insurance products and may provide more monetary incentives to more productive and effective insurance intermediaries. These and other similar measures designed to boost sales through insurance intermediaries can have a positive impact on our financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, as competition intensifies and the insurance market becomes more mature in China, we expect that more insurance companies will choose to outsource claims adjusting functions to professional service providers such as our affiliated claims adjusting firms while they focus on the core aspects of their business, including product development and asset and risk management.

 

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Premium rate levels and commission and fee rates

 

Because the commissions and fees we receive from insurance companies for the distribution of insurance products are generally calculated as a percentage of premiums paid by our customers to the insurance companies, our revenue and results of operations are affected by premium rate levels and commission and fee rates. Premium rate levels and commission and fee rates can change based on the prevailing economic conditions, competitive and regulatory landscape, interest rate environment and other factors that affect insurance companies. These other factors include the ability of insurance companies to place new business, underwriting and non-underwriting profits of insurance companies, consumer demand for insurance products, the availability of comparable products from other insurance companies at a lower cost, and the tax deductibility of commissions and fees. In general, we can negotiate for better rates as an incentive for generating a larger volume of business.

 

As a result of a significant increase in the number of insurance companies and the existing insurance companies’ expansion into new geographic markets, there has been a gradual increase in the commission and fee rates offered to insurance intermediaries, and such an increase has had a positive impact on our results of operations. However, due to the decline in the interest rate of banking products in recent years, China’s insurance regulator has been implementing rules to adjust the pricing rate of life insurance products and implemented a commission cap to the commission rate paid by insurance companies to the bancassurance channel in order to protect insurance companies from interest spread loss. If similar rules were to be implemented in the independent insurance intermediary channel, the commission cap could lead to significant decline in our commission income and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

The quality and productivity of our sales force

 

The quality and productivity of our sales force are paramount to our success as a distributor of insurance products. Our revenue is primarily generated through the efforts of our individual sales agents, making it imperative to attract and retain top-tier professionals. Offering differentiated services, providing ongoing training and development opportunities, and fostering a supportive work environment are crucial factors in building and maintaining an elite sales force. Additionally, enhancing productivity through the implementation of digital technology and intelligent development is essential.

 

Investing in advanced tools and platforms that streamline processes, automate tasks, and provide data-driven insights can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our sales team. The size of our sales force, as well as its productivity, directly impact our revenue and results of operations. Factors such as the average number of insurance products sold per performing sales agent, average premium per product sold, and average premiums generated per performing sales agent are key metrics in evaluating our performance.

 

In recent years, efforts to optimize our operations and the adverse impact of COVID-19 on sales activities had led to a substantial decrease in the size of our sales force, adversely affecting our financial results in the short term. However, strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing sales agent productivity through training and technology implementation, along with investments in advanced tools and platforms, are expected to yield positive results. These initiatives are anticipated to increase the number of performing agents and improve their productivity, consequently boosting our financial performance in the coming years. 

 

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Successful implementation of our professionalization, digitalization and open platform strategy

 

In late 2020, we launched new strategic initiatives to upgrade our sales organization by developing high-caliber, productive and professional insurance advisor teams in economically developed cities in China. We also intend to build an integrated digital platform utilizing artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing to optimize the use of data to provide the most appropriate products for existing and potential customers and increase agent productivity. In addition, we intend to build an open platform to share our advantages in technology, system, contractual relationship, and nationwide network with various industry participants to help them monetize their existing customer resources and to strengthen our value proposition to the market. We expect these new strategic initiatives to be new engines to drive our long-term growth. There is no assurance that we will be able to implement important strategic initiatives in accordance with our expectations, which may result in an adverse impact on our business and financial results. 

 

Commission rates for individual sales agents

 

A large component of our operating costs is commissions paid to our individual sales agents. In order to retain sales agents, we must pay commissions at a level comparable to the commissions paid by our competitors. Intensified competition for productive sales agents within the Chinese insurance industry and rising salaries in China may lead to a significant increase in commission rates which could have a negative impact on our results of operations.

 

Product and service mix

 

We began distributing auto insurance products in 1999, expanded our product offerings to other property and casualty insurance products in 2002, and started distributing long-term individual life and health insurance products in 2006, primarily to individual customers. We further broadened our service offering to cover insurance claims adjusting services in 2008. We started to offer insurance brokerage services for commercial line insurance and reinsurance brokerage services to corporate clients in 2010, which were temporarily suspended from 2017 to 2022 and re-launched in 2023.

 

Insurance Agency Segment

 

Our largest segment by revenue, the insurance agency segment, provides a broad range of life and health and non-life insurance products to individual customers. As revenues derived from our insurance brokerage business accounted for less than 6% of our total net revenues in 2023, those revenues were also recorded as non-life agency revenues.

 

Most individual life and health insurance policies we distribute require periodic payment of premiums, typically annually, during a pre-determined payment period, generally ranging from three to 25 years. For each of such policies that we distribute, insurance companies will pay us a first-year commission and fee based on a percentage of the first-year premiums, and subsequent commissions and fees based on smaller percentages of the renewal premiums paid by the insured throughout the renewal term of the policy. Therefore, once we distribute a life and health insurance policy with a periodic payment schedule, it can bring us a steady flow of commission and fee revenue throughout the renewal term as long as the insured fulfills his or her premium payment commitment and continuously renews the policy.

 

Because of the recurring nature of commissions derived from long term life and health insurance business, and the higher gross margin of our life insurance business than that of our property and casualty insurance business, we intend to continue our focus on distributing more long-term life and health insurance products, which we believe will have a positive impact on our revenue and gross margin in the long term.

 

The non-life insurance policies we distribute primarily consist of individual accident insurance, indemnity medical insurance, travel insurance, and homeowner insurance that we distribute through Baoxian.com and commercial property insurance, liability insurance, cargo insurance, construction and erection insurance that we offer through our insurance brokerage firm. These non-life insurance policies we distribute are typically for a one-year term, with a single premium payable at the beginning of the term. As a result, the insured has to purchase new policies through us every year. Accordingly, we receive a single commission or fee for each property and casualty policy we distribute. The gross margin derived from our non-life insurance business is typically lower than that of our life insurance business. We expect revenues from our non-life business as a percentage of our total net revenues to remain stable over the next few years.

 

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Claims Adjusting Segment

 

The fees we receive for our claims adjusting services are calculated based on the types of insurance products involved. For services provided in connection with property and casualty insurance (other than marine cargo insurance and automobile insurance), our fees are calculated as a percentage of the recovered amount from insurance companies plus travel expenses. For services provided in connection with marine cargo insurance, our fees are charged primarily on an hourly basis and, in some cases, as a percentage of the amount recovered from insurance companies. For services provided in connection with auto insurance, individual accident insurance and health insurance, our fees are generally fixed and the amounts collected are based on the types of services provided. In some cases, our fees are charged based on the number of claims adjustors involved in providing the services. We pay our in-house claims adjustors a base salary plus a commission calculated based on a small percentage of the service fees we receive from insurance companies or the insured. The claims adjusting business has become and likely will continue to be a steady source of our net revenues. The operating margin of our claims adjusting segment are generally lower than those of our insurance agency segment although its gross margin is relatively higher. We expect revenues from our claims adjusting business as a percentage of our total net revenues to remain stable over the next few years.1

 

Seasonality

 

Our quarterly results of operations are affected by seasonal variations caused by business mix, insurance companies’ business practices and consumer demand. For life insurance business, much of the jumpstart sales activities of life insurance companies occur during the first quarter of a year, while business activities slow down in the fourth quarter of a year as life insurance companies focus on the preparation for the jumpstart sales season of the coming year by preparing to launch new products, making marketing plans and organizing training. During the jumpstart sales season, life insurance companies will offer incentives that are more attractive to insurance intermediaries and sales agents to boost sales. Accordingly, our commission and fee revenue derived from life insurance business is generally the highest in the first quarter of a year and the lowest in the fourth quarter of a year. For non-life insurance products that we distribute on Baoxian.com, there was no obvious seasonal fluctuation.

 

We undertake regular evaluations of multiple operational metrics to analyze our business, assess performance, detect trends, develop financial projections, and guide strategic decision-making. The principal operational metrics we analyze are outlined in the table below:

 

Key Components of Our Results of Operations

 

   2022   2023 
   (RMB)   (RMB) 
   Million   Million 
Gross Written Premiums facilitated   12,778.5    16,444.6 
First year premiums   2,926.4    3,812.7 
Renewal premiums   9,852.1    12,631.9 

 

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Key Components of Our Results of Operations

 

As of December 31, 2022 and 2023, we operated two segments: (1) the insurance agency segment, which mainly consisted of providing agency services for distributing life insurance products and non-life insurance products on behalf of insurance companies, and (2) the claims adjusting segment, which consists of providing pre-underwriting survey services, claims adjusting services, disposal of residual value services, loading and unloading supervision services, and consulting services.

 

Operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise about which separate financial information is available and evaluated regularly by our chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance.

 

Net Revenues

 

Our revenues are net of PRC tax surcharges and value-added tax incurred. In 2022 and 2023, we generated net revenues of RMB2,781.6 million and RMB3,198.4 million (US$450.5 million), respectively. We derive net revenues from the following sources:

 

  Insurance agency segment: commissions paid by insurance companies for the distribution of (i) life and health insurance products, and (ii) non-life products sold through Baoxian.com and commissions and advisory fees for (i) insurance and reinsurance brokerage services primarily paid by the insurance companies, and (ii) risk management consulting services primarily paid by the insureds, which accounted for 85.4% and 86.3% of our net revenues for 2022 and 2023, respectively; and

 

  Claims adjusting segment: commissions and fees primarily paid by the insurance companies for the provision of claims adjusting services, which accounted for 14.6% and 13.7% of our net revenues for 2022 and 2023, respectively.