Manulife Financial and Chinfon Group first to enter Vietnam life insurance market

Manulife Financial and Chinfon Group first to enter Vietnam life insurance market

VIETNAM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 21, 1999–

Manulife Financial and Chinfon Global Corp. announced today that the Vietnamese Government approved the licensing of Chinfon-Manulife Insurance Company (`CMIC’) as the first wholly foreign-owned life insurance company authorized to transact business in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

CMIC is a joint venture between Manulife Financial of Canada and the Chinfon Global Corp. of Taiwan. CMIC will be 60 per cent owned by Manulife and 40 per cent by Chinfon. CMIC plans to begin operations in the third quarter.

“This venture gives us an early entry into the developing life insurance market in Vietnam,” Chinfon Chairman, Dr. Shi H. Huang, said today from Chinfon’s head office in Taipei. “We’re looking forward to the prospect of providing protection and savings products and services to Vietnamese consumers,” he added.

“Manulife Financial’s entry into the Vietnamese life insurance market is an important part of our commitment to expand our presence in Asia, where we have been in business for more than a century,” said Manulife Financial President and CEO Dominic D’Alessandro from Manulife Financial’s head office in Toronto. “This approval is the culmination of more than five years of hard work by our people, our partner, and the Canadian Government.”

Solid fundamentals

“The Vietnamese life insurance market already has fundamental market forces in place,” said Victor Apps, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manulife Asia. “For example, high savings rates — a major component of a strong dynamic life insurance industry — is prevalent in Vietnam as it is in other Asian economies where Manulife Financial operates.”

“Our partner, Chinfon, has operated in Vietnam for more than 10 years and has developed an outstanding reputation for providing a broad range of quality products and services,” said Mr. Apps. “This is an excellent complement to Manulife Financial’s recognized expertise in financial protection and investment management services in Asia.”

CMIC will draw on the global sales and marketing experience of its parent companies to develop and refine the distribution strategy for Vietnam.

Founded in 1880, Chinfon is one of the top 10 business conglomerates in Taiwan, with annual sales in excess of US$3.6 billion. The company has far-reaching business operations in a wide array of industries, including motorcycle, automobile and truck manufacturing and distribution, banking, brokerage, insurance, trading, cement, oil and chemical products, construction, travel, consulting and advertising. Chinfon is one of the biggest foreign investors in Vietnam with total investment amount over US$450 million.

Strength and Reputation

Manulife’s Marc Sterling, Vice President, Regional Operations, Asia, noted that the strength of Chinfon in Vietnam is unparalleled. “Chinfon is one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam, demonstrating a long term commitment to the country.”

Albert Chen, Chinfon’s President, expressed his pleasure to be working with Manulife on Chinfon’s twentieth licensed business venture in Vietnam. “Chinfon wanted to work with a company with an outstanding reputation in Asia and we found that with Manulife. We’re looking forward to building a strong, successful life insurance company in Vietnam.”

Manulife Financial has a long history in Asia. Manulife Financial was the first international company to form a joint venture in the People’s Republic of China. The company, Zhong Hong Life, has been growing successfully since it opened in Shanghai in 1997 and now employs more than 1000 staff and agents. More recently, Manulife Financial became the first Canadian insurer to enter the Japanese market when Manulife Century began operations in that country on April 1st.

Manulife Financial (The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries) is a leading provider of financial protection products and investment management services to individuals, families, businesses and groups in selected international markets. Manulife Financial operates in 14 countries worldwide – nine of which are in Asia and with more than 27,000 employees and agents. Assets under administration by the Company and its subsidiaries were Cdn$98.5 billion as of March 31, 1999.

Manulife Financial is rated by leading ratings agencies including: A.M. Best (A++); Duff & Phelps (AAA); Moody’s (Aa2); and Standard & Poor’s (AA+).

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