NU Online News Service, Dec. 11, 2:10 p.m. – CIGNA International, a unit of CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, has signed an agreement with SDZ, an affiliate of China Merchants Group, to form CIGNA & CMC Life Insurance Company Limited, a joint venture that will begin operations in Shenzhen in 2003.

The joint venture will market its products through China Merchants Bank, CIGNA says.

CIGNA also plans to extend its operations to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou once it builds a base in Shenzhen, the company says.