Manulife-Sinochem receives Ningbo branch office license

Shanghai, Sept. 15, 2004 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian-based Manulife Financial, the world’s fifth largest life insurance company, will open a branch office in Ningbo, China. This is Manulife-Sinochem’s third branch license and the first license granted in Zhejiang Province to a foreign-invested joint venture life insurance company by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

“Establishing operations in Ningbo represents another step in realizing our goal of being a national insurer in China that provides customers innovative products to meet their financial objectives,” said Victor Apps, Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manulife Financial, Asia. “Manulife-Sinochem has solidified its position as a leading provider of premium financial products and services in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, and we have the strategy in place to accomplish the same result in Ningbo.”

The port city of Ningbo in Zhejiang Province is the financial centre of the Southern Yangtze Delta region. It ranks tenth among the largest cities in China with a population of approximately 5.5 million, with average resident income ranking fourth among cities in China.

Branch operation success

“Manulife-Sinochem will complete the branch registration process over the next several months and we plan to begin operations and sales in Ningbo in the first quarter of 2005,” said Marc Sterling, Executive Vice-President, Regional Operations, Asia. “The life insurance market in Ningbo, with an insurance penetration below other major cities, offers us significant potential.”

“Manulife-Sinochem’s outstanding track record of successful branch operations will bring the best this industry has to offer to the citizens of Ningbo – both in terms of career opportunities and financial offerings,” 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. In April 2004, Manulife-Sinochem opened its second branch operation in China’s capital city, Beijing.

Today, the Company’s agency force has grown to more than 4,000 professionally trained agents serving more than 200,000 customers in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing.

Award-winning market leader

Manulife-Sinochem’s ability to leverage product development and management expertise from within China, and also from one country to the next throughout Manulife’s global organization, differentiates it in the marketplace.

In March 2004, Manulife-Sinochem was 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 and Manulife-Sinochem is the only insurance company that has ever been honoured with this title.

For four consecutive years, Manulife-Sinochem has also been recognized by the Life Office Management Association (LOMA) for its outstanding professional training and development of its staff and sales agents across China.

About Manulife-Sinochem

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 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. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$360 billion (US$269 billion) as at June 30, 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 at