MetLife Inc, America's biggest life insurer, held a celebration for the
launch of its newly named joint-venture (JV) life insurance company in Shanghai
on May 19.
The ceremony is part of an on-going effort by MetLife to brand itself for the
Chinese market. Although legally allowed to use CitiInsurance's trademark of a
red umbrella until June 30, United Metlife has already made the switch to their
own Snoopy mascot in an effort to make the transition of the JV from
CitiInsurance Life Insurance to MetLife more palatable to the public.
MetLife holds 50 percent
of the JV, United MetLife Insurance Co, and its Chinese partner, Shanghai
Alliance Investment Ltd, an investment arm of the municipal government, own the
chairman Robert Henrikson poses with the US insurance giant's mascot
Snoopy during a celebration for the launch of its newly named
joint-venture life insurance company in Shanghai on May 19, 2006.
The JV, formerly CitiInsurance Life Insurance Co Ltd, dates back to August
2005 and was formed with US$62.3 million in registered capital.
In January 2005, MetLife Inc acquired Travelers Life & Annuity from
Citigroup, which included CitiInsurance international assets, for US$11.5
What's in a name?
Since brand names are especially important in the insurance industry, the
name Citigroup actually means much more to Shanghainese than MetLife, though the
latter is the largest life insurance provider in the United States, an insurance
Citigroup boasts more than a hundred years of history in Shanghai, setting up
its Shanghai branch one year after its establishment in New York in 1901.
MetLife opened its representative office in Shanghai just ten years ago.
MetLife delayed renaming the JV until 10 months after the initial acquisition
partly because of this, according to the analyst.
(For more biz stories, please visit Industry Updates)