BEIJING, CHINA, May 20, 2004 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
today marked the start of business in Beijing – its second Branch office in
China – with an official Opening Ceremony at the China World Hotel in the
country’s capital city. On hand to officiate the proceedings was His
Excellence Joseph Caron, Ambassador of Canada to China.
“Today marks a significant achievement for Manulife-Sinochem,” said
Victor Apps, Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manulife
Financial, Asia. “Beijing is an important market in our long-term strategy of
becoming a successful national life insurer in China. We are proud and
honoured to be leading this country’s expansion efforts in the financial
On April 12, 2004, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC)
formally granted an operating license to Manulife-Sinochem for its branch
office in Beijing. This is Manulife-Sinochem’s second branch license – the
Company opened its first branch office in Guangzhou in November 2002.
Manulife-Sinochem is headquartered in Shanghai where it began operations in
Poised for future growth
Following its April merger with U.S.-based John Hancock Financial
Services, Inc., parent company Manulife Financial – now the largest company in
Canada, the second largest life insurance company in North America, and the
fifth largest life insurer in the world (based on market capitalization) – is
poised more than ever for future growth of its operations throughout China and
around the globe.
“The combination of these two enormous companies essentially creates a
financial services powerhouse,” said Mr. Apps. “What this means for the
consumer here in China is that the company they buy their financial protection
from is not only a global leader, but is also financially stronger than ever
before, and can provide access to a deeper, more diverse and competitive
product line. The benefits of this transaction will be passed on to our
At the same time that geographic restrictions will be lifted for foreign
insurers – expected near the end of this year – there is a plan to also permit
foreign insurers to transact group and pension business. “Manulife has
significant pension operations in Asia and we anticipate using our expertise
in this area to establish a successful pension business here, hopefully in the
near future,” added Mr. Apps.
A solid foundation contributes to increased success
Manulife’s insurance expertise and Sinochem’s understanding of the
Chinese market have resulted in considerable developments in agency training,
product design, market exploration and service effectiveness.
“This combination contributes to the strong foundation upon which
Manulife-Sinochem has grown and expanded so successfully since its entry into
the PRC more than seven years ago,” said Marc Sterling, Executive Vice
President, Regional Operations, Manulife Financial. “Additionally, we are
thankful for the ongoing cooperation and steady support from both Chinese and
Canadian governments – both of which have been instrumental to our success.
China is on a fast growth track of its financial services sector and we are
honoured to be a part of the significant development that is history in the
“While we expect to encounter intense competition as we move forward with
our expansion plans, we are confident that our ability to leverage product
development and management expertise from within China, and also from one
country to the next throughout our global organization, will differentiate
Manulife-Sinochem in the marketplace,” added Mr. Sterling.
Today, close to 4,000 professionally trained agents and employees serve
more than 200,000 customers. For 2003, total premiums/deposit were RMB
484 million, a 21 per cent increase over the year before. Total sales for 2003
grew 47 per cent over 2002.
Award-winning market leader
What has helped Manulife-Sinochem to establish its position of market
leader, is its financial strength, unique product offerings, unswerving
commitment to excellence in customer service, professionalism across all
aspects of the business, and the extensive training and education of its
management, staff and agency.
“We have received a number of industry awards for our excellence and
dedication in all these areas,” said James Lin, General Manager, Manulife-
Sinochem. “Most recently one of our juvenile products was awarded “best
product” in Shanghai in the life insurance category. In March, we were
recognized with the “Most Trustworthy Company” award from the Shanghai
Consumer Association and Shanghai Civil office. This award is considered the
highest recognition from the Shanghai government on a company’s
trustworthiness. Manulife-Sinochem is the only insurance company that has ever
been honoured with this title, which is a testament to the Company’s hard-
For the past four years in a row, Manulife-Sinochem has also been awarded
by the Life Office Management Association (LOMA) for its outstanding
professional training and development of its staff and sales agents across
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).
China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company (FOTIC) is a
core enterprise of Sinochem. Sinochem, founded in 1950, is one of the biggest
foreign trading companies in China. Since 1989, Sinochem has topped the list
of the country’s 500 leading foreign trading companies and has also been
recognized as a Fortune 500 company for 14 consecutive years. In 2003, the
company’s total sales income reached US$18.9 billion. Sinochem can be found on
the Internet at www.sinochem.com.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and most of Asia, and primarily
through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a
diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services
through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners.
Pro forma funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries
were Cdn$355.9 billion (US$271.6 billion) as at March 31, 2004.
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