Jinan, Shandong Province – Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (MSL), a subsidiary of Canada-based Manulife Financial and the Official Life Insurance Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, today opens a new business centre in the city of Jinan, Shandong province.
This is the 18th city for Manulife-Sinochem and cements the Company’s position as a leading foreign-invested life insurer with licences to operate in more Chinese cities than any other joint venture life insurer. Manulife-Sinochem will be offering a range of products to customers in Jinan, including Group Life and Health and non-tax benefit pension business.
“We are excited to be beginning operations in Shandong and to be developing further business opportunities in North China,” said Mr. Marc Sterling, Chairman of Manulife-Sinochem, at the opening ceremony press conference held at the Sofitel Silver Plaza Hotel in Jinan. “We chose China’s second most-populous province as our second business center besides Beijing in North China and we aim to extend our business from Jinan to the whole province. Today’s launch in Shandong province coincides with the start of the Company’s second decade in China, as Manulife-Sinochem was the first foreign-invested joint venture life insurance company to set up in the PRC in November 1996.”
Home to a population of 92.48 million in 2005, Shandong lies in the Bohai Bay economic region and spans a total area of 156,700 sq km. Shandong is endowed with rich mineral, agricultural and marine resources and as the third largest industrial production base in China, is a cradle for many international and national industrial giants. The local insurance industry has seen solid growth in recent years.
“With Shandong’s low insurance penetration rate and an average resident income that is growing steadily, this market presents enormous potential for us,” said Mr. James Lin, President of Manulife-Sinochem. “Fast becoming a major player in China’s insurance market, Manulife-Sinochem attributes its success to remaining steadfast to the Company’s core competencies that include customer service effectiveness, distribution excellence and product innovation. We look forward to providing local citizens with the industry’s most premium insurance products and services.”
Fresh from her victory at the 2007 Chinese National Taekwondo Championships and National Olympic Qualification for Beijing 2008 on April 17, Olympic gold medalist and Manulife-Sinochem’s Olympic ambassador, Luo Wei said: “I congratulate Manulife-Sinochem on this important day for the Company. Their mission to be the best at what they do is one with which many Olympic athletes identify. Today’s launch of their Shandong branch is a tribute to the hard work and determination of the Manulife-Sinochem team and I wish them every 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 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. Lin.
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 Samson Chan, General Manager, Shandong Branch, Manulife-Sinochem.
“Manulife-Sinochem shares the Olympic attributes of top performance and striving to be the best,” added Mr. Chan. “As the exclusive Life Insurance Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, we hope to communicate to our new stakeholders in Jinan that we, too, stand for the excellence that has long been associated with the Olympic ideals. We look forward to the tremendous branding benefits that we stand to gain from our investment in the Olympic Movement.”
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$414 billion (US$355 billion) as at December 31, 2006.
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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