Manulife breaks even ahead of schedule in China

Five years after establishing a life insurance license in Shanghai, the Canadian firm sees tremendous growth ahead. President and CEO Victor Apps outlines its success.
Manulife, the Canadian insurance company, says its five-year-old life insurance joint venture in Shanghai is expected to break even for the first time this year. Victor Apps, president and CEO at Manulife International in Hong Kong, says the rule of thumb for a business starting from scratch is to break even after seven years. The JV with Sinochem, a Chinese chemicals company, launched in November 1996, had originally been expected to record a profit in 2003.

Apps says business in Shanghai is booming thanks to a rapidly growing agency sales force and a profit-sharing life insurance product. For the fourth quarter of 2000, Manulife-Sinochems sales growth was 165% greater than the last quarter...

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