UPDATE 1-AIA Q3 new business value jumps 17 pct on sales in China, Hong Kong

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(Reuters) – AIA Group Ltd (1299.HK), the world’s second-largest life insurer by market value, posted a 17 percent rise in new business value in its fiscal third quarter, as it boosted sales in its main markets of China and Hong Kong.

China and Hong Kong together account for about half of new business growth globally at AIA, originally founded in Shanghai nearly 100 years ago and the first foreign insurer to be granted a license in China.

AIA’s value of new business, which measures expected profits from new premiums and is a key gauge for future growth, rose to $979 million in the quarter, up from $846 million a year ago, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The insurer said it generated double-digit growth in new business value in both China and Hong Kong during the period. It did not provide a definite number.

Foreign insurers including AIA, which operates the only non-Chinese wholly-owned business on the mainland, have been gaining market share in China following a regulatory crackdown on short-term investments packaged as insurance.

The insurer’s other key markets include Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

“Asia’s macroeconomic fundamentals remain resilient despite recent volatility in financial markets, increased international trade tensions and softening consumer and business sentiment,” AIA, which listed in Hong Kong in 2010 after a spin-off from bailed-out U.S. insurer AIG, said in a statement.

Reporting by Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru and Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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