Receives license approval for Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province
TORONTO, March 6, 2012 – Manulife-Sinochem (MSL) announced today that it has received approval from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to establish a new branch office in the capital city of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang. Located in North China, surrounding the capital Beijing, Hebei is the sixth largest province in China in terms of GDP.
The new branch license was granted on the heels of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s successful recent trip to China and marks MSL’s 13th province and 50th city in China. With 16,000 professional agents and employees serving 650,000 clients, the addition of Shijiazhuang gives MSL access to cities with a total population of around 400 million.
“We are proud and honoured for Manulife-Sinochem to be awarded its 50th city license in China. We now have the widest geographic footprint of any foreign invested joint venture company in China, which is a tribute to Manulife and also to Canada,” said Mr. Donald A. Guloien, President & CEO, Manulife Financial. “Our success in China is a testament to the outstanding support we have received from the Chinese and Canadian governments, and our wonderful partner, Sinochem Group.”
Mr. Robert A. Cook, Senior Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Manulife Asia added, “This latest expansion reinforces MSL’s leading position in China, by having built a national platform over the past 15 years. It reflects our long-term commitment to China, which is a market of strategic importance to Manulife in Asia.”
Mr. Marc Sterling, Chairman of Manulife-Sinochem said, “We are grateful for the trust and support of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. The new license highlights our continued success developing our franchise and our strong national platform. Shijiazhuang is a dynamic city, and we are excited to expand our business there.”
“Over the next 40 years, China’s over-65 population is forecast to grow from 10 percent to over 30 percent. This will increase the demand for retirement products, which are an important part of our business in China, as we offer Wealth Management, Annuities and Protection products; and are looking forward to greater participation in the Pension business.”
From its headquarters in Shanghai, MSL has now successfully extended its presence to the main wealth and population centres of China, including Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shandong, Fujian, Chongqing, Liaoning, Tianjin and Hubei.
Over the last 15 years, MSL has received numerous public and industry awards, and was recently named “Most Reputable Foreign Insurance Company,” by the popular Chinese internet portal Sohu.com in recognition of its robust operations and strong partnerships.
This latest development builds on Manulife’s long track record of successful investment in Asia. In 2012, Manulife celebrates 115 years of continuous operations in Asia, across 11 countries and territories, having sold its first policies there in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 1897. The news comes as Manulife this year celebrates the 125th anniversary of its founding in Canada, in 1887.
Manulife Sinochem, which is headquartered in Shanghai, is the first foreign investment joint venture life insurance company in China. Its shareholders are Canada’s Manulife Financial, and China’s Sinochem Corporation. Manulife-Sinochem is a joint-venture company between Manulife (International) Limited and the China Foreign Economy and Trade Trust Company (a member of the Sinochem group). To date the Company has over 16,000 professionally trained agents and employees, providing financial and insurance services to more than 650,000 customers. The company now has 50 licenses to operate, including in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shandong, Fujian, Chongqing, Liaoning, Tianjin, Hubei and Hebei. With more than fifteen years’ successful experience, Manulife-Sinochem is committed to offering comprehensive insurance products combined with excellent customer service and professionalism.
Manulife-Sinochem can be found on the internet at www.manulife-sinochem.com.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, we celebrate 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$500 billion (US$491 billion) as at December 31, 2011. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.
As one of the key state-owned enterprises under the supervision of SASAC (State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council), Sinochem Group has been featured in the “Fortune Global 500” list 20 times, and ranked 203 in 2010. Sinochem has five core business segments: agriculture, energy, chemical, real estate and finance. A leading chemical service provider, it is China’s biggest integrated agricultural producer of fertilizer, pesticide and seed products, and the country’s fourth largest oil company. Sinochem is also a major player in China’s high-end commercial real estate market and non-banking financial sector. Sinochem has more than 200 branches and subsidiaries both in China and abroad, among which are several listed companies, namely Sinochem International (SSE, 600500), SinoFert (HKEX, 00297), Franshion Properties (HKEX, 00817). In June 2009, Sinochem made a major move to inject most of its assets into the shareholding entity Sinochem Corporation. More than 40,000 employees adhere to Sinochem’s spirit of exploration and innovation, adopting the mindset of “Creating Value, Pursuing Excellence.”
Sinochem can be found on the Internet at www.sinochem.com.