Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company plans to help State Grid Corp. of China expand a life insurance company.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission has approved an agreement that calls for MassMutual, Springfield, Mass., to have a subsidiary, MassMutual International L.L.C., acquire a 19.9% equity stake in Yingda Taihe Life Insurance Company Ltd., Beijing.

State Grid, Beijing, an electric power distribution and transmission company, set up Yingda Life and a property-casualty insurer, Yingda Taihe Property Insurance Company Ltd., in 2007.

State Grid and other Chinese shareholders will continue to hold the remaining 80.1% of the Yingda Life equity, MassMutual says.

MassMutual International has been operating in Asia since 2000. It now generates about $5 billion in premium revenue per year from operations based in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.