SHANGHAI, Oct. 22, 2003 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will open a branch office in Beijing, China. This is Manulife-Sinochem’s second branch license and the first multiple-branch license granted to a foreign-invested joint venture life insurance company by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien joined Manulife-Sinochem representatives, including Manulife Financial Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dominic D’Alessandro, for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing to mark the beginning of preparations for the new Beijing branch.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to serve new customers in Beijing and provide them with industry-leading products and financial protection,” said Victor Apps, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manulife Financial, Asia. “Beijing presents a fantastic opportunity for growth of our China business. We look forward to providing our new customers with innovative products to meet their financial objectives.”
Seven years of success in China
“Manulife-Sinochem is prepared to launch its operations in Beijing as quickly as possible,” said Marc Sterling, Senior Vice-President, Regional Operations, Asia. “This development will take our business to new levels, leveraging our seven years of experience in China so we can bring the best this industry has to offer to the citizens of Beijing — both in terms of career opportunities and financial offerings.”
“Manulife-Sinochem is committed to national expansion in China, and our license to operate in Beijing represents a critical step in this vision,” added Mr. Sterling.
As the first foreign-invested joint venture life insurance company in China, Manulife-Sinochem has been an industry pioneer since it began operations in Shanghai in 1996, demonstrating considerable success and becoming a major player in China’s insurance market. Manulife-Sinochem is dedicated to developing agency training, product design, market exploration and service effectiveness. In November 2002, Manulife-Sinochem launched its first branch office in Guangzhou — also the first branch license granted to a foreign-invested joint venture insurance company in China.
Today, the Company’s agency force has grown to more than 3,300 professionally trained agents serving more than 200,000 customers in Shanghai and Guangzhou. For the first six months of 2003, new annualized premium sales increased 18 per cent over the same period last year, while total premiums and deposits increased 24 per cent.
Manulife-Sinochem is a joint venture company between Manulife (International) Limited (51 per cent) and China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company, a member of the Sinochem group (49 per cent).
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 15 countries and territories worldwide. Through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners, Manulife Financial offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services. Funds under management by Manulife Financial were Cdn$144.3 billion as at June 30, 2003.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as “MFC” on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under “0945” on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.