Updated from 10:57 a.m.
shares Wednesday were up sharply from their offering price, but off session highs, as the biggest IPO of the year debuted.
Recently, shares were up $4.82, or 26%, to $23.57, with more than 33 million shares changing hands, after jumping as much as 35% in early trading.
China's largest life insurer sold 161 million shares at $18.68 a share, valuing the offering at more than $3 billion.
The offering is the second-largest Chinese IPO after
, which went public in a $5.25 billion offering in 2000.
Almost two dozen IPOs were slated to launch in December. That's double the number in the first half of the year alone and the busiest month in three years.
The offering's underwriters are Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank and China International Capital.