Shanghai, China, Jan. 19, 2005 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian-based Manulife Financial, yesterday was the first Canadian insurer to receive approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to expand its China operating license to include Group Life and Health and non-tax benefit Pension business.
“CIRC has granted us license to significantly enhance Manulife-Sinochem’s current product portfolio – bringing our business scope in line with that of any domestic insurer – which we plan to take full advantage of as soon as possible,” said Marc Sterling, Executive Vice President, Asia Regional Operations, Manulife Financial. “This approval by the Government is further evidence of their good intentions toward fulfilling their 2001 commitment to the World Trade Organization in respect of foreign life insurance companies. As the only Canadian life insurance company to be granted this license extension, we look forward to adding these new lines of business to our existing range of life insurance products and services.”
Manulife-Sinochem plans to offer Group Life and Health insurance beginning mid-year to customers in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong province, where it just last week received a province-wide license to operate. Once a number of pension regulations are in place, Manulife-Sinochem will also use this opportunity to increase its presence in the China marketplace.
“The China government is trying to quickly enable financial institutions to offer pension products in order to help alleviate its own financial burden of a rapidly aging population,” said James Lin, General Manager, Manulife-Sinochem. “As a life insurance company with many years of solid experience to draw on in the pension business, we are in a position to help the government achieve its objectives. In particular, we plan to leverage the skill and expertise that has made our pension operations in Asia and North America so successful.”
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. 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. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$346 billion (US$274 billion) as at September 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 www.manulife.com.