Shanghai– Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (MSL) today announces that it has been granted a new license by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) Sichuan office to open a new sales office in the city of Nanchong, Sichuan province - the Company’s third operation in the province. The news means that Manulife-Sinochem is now licensed to operate in 21 cities across Mainland China.
Under the new license, Manulife-Sinochem will be able to offer a wide range of financial and medical products, including Group Life and Health products and non-tax benefit pensions, to companies, families and individuals in Nanchong.
The company has a long-standing presence in Sichuan province. Before MSL was established as the first JV life insurance company in China, its foreign parent company - Manulife Financial, had already set up an operation there, and it is also regarded as one of the earliest foreign financial companies to set up an office in this province. MSL Sichuan branch was opened in August 2006 - just before the company’s 10th anniversary of operations in China and earlier in 2007, the company was given approval to open a sales office in Deyang.
“Thanks to the ongoing support from the Chinese government and regulators, we are steadily expanding in Sichuan province,’ said Mr. Marc Sterling, Chairman of Manulife-Sinochem. “Today is an important milestone for the Company as we continue to build our business in western China.”
Nanchong is a city with a long history of more than 2000 years and it is one of nine biggest central cities in Sichuan Province. In 2005, Nanchong was nominated by Sichuan government as one of the five regional business and commerce centers—Chuandongbei regional business and commerce centre—in the province. In 2006, the GDP of Nanchong was RMB 39.65 billion and its average income was RMB 8671. The insurance industry in the province has achieved steady growth - in the first four months of 2007, overall insurance premiums were 463 million, of which life insurance premiums accounted for 358 million.
Having recently made a special appearance at Manulife’s Olympic Baby Day Camp in Shanghai last month, Olympic Taekwondo gold medalist and Manulife-Sinochem’s Olympic ambassador, Luo Wei said: “I congratulate Manulife-Sinochem on this important milestone for the Company. Their mission to be the best at what they do is one with which many Olympic athletes identify. Today’s announcement is a tribute to the hard work and determination of the Manulife-Sinochem team and I wish them continued success in the future.”
Experiencing rapid geographical and product expansion
In November 2002, Manulife-Sinochem received the first Branch license granted to a foreign-invested joint venture insurance company. Under the lifted geographical restrictions for foreign insurers by the Chinese Government, as part of its commitment to the World Trade Organization, Manulife-Sinochem has since received many new licenses that are permitting the rapid expansion of its business.
In January 2005, CIRC granted Manulife-Sinochem license to significantly enhance its current product portfolio to include Group Life and Health and non-tax benefit Pension business, bringing its business scope in line with that of domestic insurers.
“We have already rolled out our Group Life and Health insurance to many provinces and once a number of pension regulations are in place, we will also use this opportunity to increase our presence in the China marketplace,” said Mr. James Lin, President, Manulife-Sinochem.
Today, Manulife-Sinochem’s 6,000-strong staff and agency force serve more than a quarter of a million customers across all cities where it operates.
Olympic sponsorship enhancing brand in competitive marketplace
“Proudly, Manulife-Sinochem is the Official Life Insurance Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” said Mr. Lin. “This is a very exciting time for Beijing, for China, and for our Company – we are thrilled to be a part of this special event and the Olympic spirit that is driving the development of Beijing, ultimately showcasing it as the magnificent city it is, to the rest of the world.”
“Our corporate sponsorship dollars go toward supporting the dedicated individuals of China, who train long and hard to achieve the excellence that qualifies them for the world’s largest and most recognized sports competition. Similarly, we, too, strive to be the “best” in our industry,” said Mr. Lin.
“Manulife-Sinochem shares the Olympic attributes of top performance and striving to be the best,” added Mr. Lin. “As the exclusive Life Insurance Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, we hope to communicate to our new stakeholders in Nanchong that we, too, stand for the excellence that has long been associated with the Olympic ideals.”
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 15 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 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$426 billion (approximately HK$2,889.4 billion) as at March 31, 2007.
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.
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