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2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2007

Manulife – stamping its mark on Hong Kong over 110 years

Insurer launches set of commemorative stamps to celebrate anniversary

Hong Kong— To mark the milestone of 110 years of doing business in Hong Kong, Manulife has produced a commemorative set of stamps and a first-day cover — and will give away 110 of them via a game on the Company’s Web site.

The AAA-rated insurer has gone from being a small agency operation when it opened in 1897 to becoming one of the territory’s insurance giants. Manulife is now very much a household name and a highly trusted brand in Hong Kong, where it is the second-largest insurance company*, with a customer base of more than a million, and also the second-largest Mandatory Provident Funds provider^, with pension scheme members totalling more than 845,000.

The celebratory stamp pane depicts a cityscape of contemporary Hong Kong, signifying the way Manulife has grown and expanded in tandem with the territory. In a similar vein, the first-day cover portrays the Manulife Plaza office building in front of a silhouette of the Hong Kong skyline, indicating the company’s leadership position in providing insurance and financial services to the local community. It also bears Manulife’s Olympic marketing theme “Bringing Dreams To Life” as a sign of the Company’s commitment to providing the help and resources Hong Kong citizens need to realise their dreams and aspirations.

“We are very proud of the landmark achievements that we have recorded over the past 11 decades,” said Michael Huddart, Executive Vice President and General Manager for Manulife in Hong Kong.

“It’s a testament to the expertise and commitment of our employees and advisors, the quality of our products and services, and our consistent financial strength. These core assets have translated into the value that we provided and will continue to provide to customers.”

In 110 years, Manulife in Hong Kong has chalked up several significant milestones:

  • 1897 – Commenced operation and started to sell life insurance policies in Hong Kong.
  • 1936 – Entered the group pension market.
  • 1984 – Manulife (International) Limited (MIL) established as a subsidiary of Manulife Financial
  • 1989 – Entered the group life and health insurance market
  • 1993 – Offered general insurance through Taikoo Royal Insurance
  • 1995 – Joint credit card (ManuCard) launched with OTB Card Company, a subsidiary of the Dao Heng Bank Group.
  • 1996 – MIL’s subsidiary, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Company Ltd, began operation in Shanghai. Manulife-Sinochem was China’s first joint venture life-insurance company.
    – Opening of Macau Branch.
    – Acquired Manulife Regent and renamed it Manulife Funds Direct.
  • 1997 – Centennial celebrations in Hong Kong
    – MIL received a “AA+ (Very Strong)” rating from Standard & Poor’s
    – Provided general insurance service through partnership with Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance
  • 1998 – Manulife Provident Funds Trust Company established as the trustee for Manulife’s Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) schemes
  • 1999 – Shares of Manulife Financial Corporation began trading on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on September 27, 1999.
    – Introduced Manulife credit card with Mediplus function for group insurance clients. The card combines features of a credit card and a medical card.
  • 2000 – Expansion into Mandatory Provident Funds market.
    – First insurance company to launch a group insurance plan that offered voluntary employee benefits.
    – Establishment of an Asian Investment operation.
  • 2003 – Manulife Funds Direct renamed Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited.
    – Number of customers reached the one million mark.
  • 2004 – Two distinguished agents celebrated their incredible 50 years’ service to the company
  • 2005 – Began distribution of Manulife insurance and wealth management products at CITIC Ka Wah Bank.
  • 2006 – Financial-strength rating of MIL was raised to the highest ‘AAA’ by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services
  • 2007 – Launched the first variable annuity product consisting of an investment-linked insurance plan with a guaranteed withdrawal benefit feature.

Today, Manulife in Hong Kong is committed to offering the highest quality individual and group insurance, pension, and individual wealth management products to its clients. Its family of products has been built around a powerful combination of investment options chosen with the goal of providing attractive risk-adjusted returns and broad diversification across asset classes, investment style, and asset managers. With its extensive product lines, competitive underwriting, excellent ratings, and quality customer service, Manulife is dedicated to providing quality products designed to help protect, create and preserve wealth for its clients.

To share in the anniversary celebrations, Manulife invites the Hong Kong community to visit its company Web site (www.manulife.com.hk) from May 21, 2007. And, by answering 10 simple questions about Manulife, everyone has a chance of winning one of the 110 sets of Manulife Commemorative Stamp and First-Day Cover — all of which are almost certain to become an invaluable collectors’ item.

About Manulife (International) Limited
Manulife (International) Limited is a member of the Manulife Financial group of companies. 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.

* According to Provisional Statistics by OCI for 2006, in terms of in-force non-single-revenue premiums in the long-term individual-insurance market.
^ Source: MPFA Statistical Digest and Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited; in terms of asset under management in 2006.

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For more information please contact:
Helena Lee / Jeanie Ho
Manulife (International) Limited
Tel: (852) 2202 1050 / 2510 3191
Fax: (852) 2234 6875
Email: helena_lee@manulife.com
          jeanie_ho@manulife.com