Manulife-Sinochem receives CIRC approval for Sichuan Provincial Branch License

Company now licensed to operate in more cities than any other foreign life insurer

SHANGHAI, China, Jan. 5, 2006 – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian-based Manulife Financial, the world’s fourth largest life insurance company, has received initial approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) for a Sichuan Provincial Branch license that permits a Branch operation to commence operation in the Provincial capital of Chengdu. Preparations are now underway to facilitate a second quarter opening.

“As our first foray into Western China, the opening in Sichuan Province is a very big step for our Company,” said Marc Sterling, Chairman, Manulife-Sinochem. “Manulife has a long history with this province in that much of our China market entry work and strategy began in Sichuan. We were also one of the first foreign financial institutions to establish a presence in Sichuan, through the opening of our Representative Office in Chengdu, more than 10 years ago. We are pleased to support the China government’s “Go West” development strategy and look forward to opening our next Branch office in fast-growing Chengdu, the economic heart of Sichuan province.”

“Among the 12 Western China provinces at the core of the Central Government’s development plans, Sichuan has made significant enhancements across a number of industries to become the most competitive province with its GDP ranking the highest in the West,” added Mr. Sterling. “This environment offers tremendous potential for our business and the extensive portfolio of innovative financial products and services that we offer for all members of society, including companies.”

The Chengdu Branch license marks the 12th city in which Manulife-Sinochem has received approval to operate, the most city licenses of any foreign-invested life insurer operating in China. The Company is currently operating in nine cities – in and around the major metropolises of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing – with plans to open in Shenzhen and Shaoxing in the first quarter of this year.

“We anticipate contributing to the growth of Chengdu’s booming economy – offering customers our newly expanded portfolio of premium products and offering rewarding career opportunities to talented, local people,” said Mr. Sterling.

Today, Manulife-Sinochem’s almost 5,000-strong staff and agency force serves more than a quarter million customers across the cities where it operates.

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 Sinochem

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

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