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2007 News Releases

For Immediate Release

January 15, 2007

China Bank, Manulife announce strategic Bancassurance alliance via a Joint–Venture Company

Manila - China Banking Corporation (China Bank) and The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) today announced a strategic bancassurance alliance through a joint-venture company. The joint-venture company is expected to start operations within the first quarter of the year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Leveraging on Manulife’s worldwide expertise, an extensive portfolio of innovative insurance and financial products for health, wealth, and education will be offered at all China Bank branches across the Philippines. The alliance is expected to generate significant benefits for each partner, with China Bank in a position to broaden its fee-based income and Manulife, through the joint-venture company, to be able to serve more customers across the country through the Bank’s wide branch network.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Ricardo R. Chua, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of China Bank. “Manulife is one of the leading insurance companies in the world with a solid bancassurance distribution model in Asia. We have carefully and meticulously planned this venture with Manulife to consolidate and benefit from each other's various strengths. Our teams share tremendous synergy and I feel confident we will achieve our targeted business goals.”

Philip Hampden-Smith, Manulife’s Executive Vice President and General Manager for South East Asian Operations said, ”We are delighted to have entered this exciting long-term partnership with China Bank. We will ensure that our Philippine bancassurance operation with China Bank benefits from our best practice bancassurance ventures around the region.”

Carl S. Gustini, President and CEO of Manulife Philippines said, “China Bank is a valuable partner for Manulife. It is one of the strongest, respected and most profitable banks in the country and its extensive customer base represents a significant distribution opportunity for us. We are very pleased to have China Bank as Manulife’s partner in this joint-venture bancassurance operation. With two such powerhouses, we are confident of taking bancassurance in the Philippines to a new standard of excellence.”

The joint-venture company will hire and train Financial Sales Associates (FSA) to effectively provide excellent financial planning solutions to the customer base of China Bank. For the first phase of the roll-out, the FSA’s will be assigned to all China Bank Metro Manila branches and selected provincial branches.

Providing a “one-stop shop” for all financial needs
“This strategic alliance with Manulife allows us to offer a wide range of superior and innovative insurance products to our customers, and gives China Bank the competitive edge of being a one-stop shop for their banking and insurance needs,” said Samuel L. Chiong, China Bank Senior Vice President and Deputy Group Head for branch banking.

Through organic growth and acquisitions, Manulife has developed around 50 bancassurance relationships across the Asia region. “We have 100 years of experience in the Philippines and are committed to expanding our bancassurance distribution channel in order to increase our market share,” added Mr. Gustini. “We’ll be leveraging Manulife’s extensive Asian and global expertise in this area to build partnership synergy, tailoring our program to meet China Bank’s important customer strategy.”

About China Bank
China Bank was established in 1920, was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange in 1965, and became the first bank in Southeast Asia to process deposit accounts on-line in 1969 and the first Philippine bank to offer phone banking in 1988. China Bank provides a wide range of banking services through its 148 branches and 225 ATMs nationwide. Complementing its branch and ATM network are its electronic banking channels that provide efficient and secure 24/7 banking service: China Bank TellerPhone (phone banking) and China Bank Online (Internet and mobile banking). China Bank also has an existing insurance brokerage – China Bank Insurance Brokers, Inc. – offering competitive non-life insurance products. It is one of the insurance brokers with the highest profit margin.

About Manulife
Established in 1907, Manulife Philippines has grown to become one of the leading life insurance companies in the country. Manulife Philippines is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, the world’s fourth largest and North America’s second largest life insurance company by market capitalization.

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$381 billion (US$341 billion) as at September 30, 2006.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSEand PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at www.manulife.com.

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For further information, please contact:
Chari Kitigbak
Manulife Philippines
Phone: (632) 884-5414
Email: chari_kitigbak@manulife.com