NU Online News Service, Dec. 12, 11:15 a.m. – The Chinese government has granted Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Shanghai, approval to open a branch office in Guangzhou.

Manulife-Sinochem is a joint venture between Manulife (International) Limited, which owns 51%, and China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company, a member of the Sinochem group, which owns the remaining 49%.

Sinochem is a large Chinese foreign trading company. Manulife (International) is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Company, Toronto.

Manulife-Sinochem, which started operations in Shanghai five years ago, has an agency force of more than 3,200 agents serving more than 100,000 customers.

The approval of the Guangzhou office by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission is the first step in Manulife-Sinochem’s strategy of becoming a national insurer in China, says Marc Sterling, vice president, regional operations, Asia.

Manulife-Sinochem says it has introduced a number of concepts to the China insurance market, including the concept of a profit-sharing life insurance policy, the concept of family medical insurance, and a program that combines family protection, retirement savings and wealth accumulation in a single policy.