China investmentSwiss Re disclosed it is snatching up a Chinese company from RSA Insurance Group for about $120 million as part of a plan to grow its corporate insurance arm.

The Zurich reinsurance giant said its acquisition of Sun Alliance Insurance (China) Ltd., subject to approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, will allow Swiss Re to offer corporate insurance directly from mainland China, a savvy move as multinational companies increasingly move or expand operations into the country to tap into its surging economy and market.

The purchase also reflects Swiss Re’s growth strategy moving forward—redirecting money and staffing to higher growth markets.

“Growing wealth and increasing urbanization are key drivers for a continuing demand of re/insurance products in high growth markets,” Swiss Re said in its release.

The company noted it generates one-fifth, or about $5 billion of its premiums, in those markets. Expectations are that high growth markets will generate 8 percent annual premium growth, more than double what mature markets can produce for the company.

Swiss Re said that emerging markets in Asia are leading the way in this category, which means the Sun Alliance acquisition is a big bet that this trend continue in the months and years ahead.

Michel M. Liès, Swiss Re’s group CEO, said in the release that executives’ overall strategy remains unchanged “despite the competitive environment” and that the company is on track to setting its financial targets for 2011-2015.