MetLife Inc., through its Sino US MetLife Insurance Company Limited division, has announced a new digital platform in China that the company says supports its long-term strategy for China and Asia to provide digital end-to-end sales and service. Sino US MetLife Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture company formed by a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL).

The new digital platform is aimed at meeting the needs of an expanding middle class in the region who want easy-to-purchase life insurance and protection products. MetLife’s Digital fully integrate online and offline sales, service and social channels, the company says. Combined with MetLife’s WeChat app, a self-service platform on popular social media, as well as real-time analytics, customer relationship management and deep insight and integration with social media networks, the platform gives consumers the freedom to select and compare insurance products, receive instantaneous quotes, buy online, connect with a local agent or channel of choice, make payments, or check on claims from any mobile or desktop device.

The announcement is in line with a consumer population in China that is moving toward digital at an unprecedented speed. Findings from a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute indicate that the number of internet users in China is set to surpass the 700 million mark over the next year, with the number of smart phones growing from 380 million to 700 million in 2013 alone, according to MetLife.

“China’s digital channel is a milestone in our longer-term strategy of continuously innovating the ways we provide insurance products, services, ease and convenience to our customers. With this launch we are not simply building an online channel, we are creating a digital ecosystem centered on the customer,” Chris Townsend, president of MetLife Asia, said in a prepared statement. “While it is launching in China first, we will be rapidly deploying the platform across our other markets in Asia and expect it to become a key differentiator for MetLife in the region.”

Kathy Awanis, senior VP and Direct and eBusiness Head for MetLife Asia, led the strategy and delivery of the new digital platform. “China’s digital channel empowers consumers by building their awareness and knowledge, providing them with full and transparent information that is relevant to their life stage,” Awanis said in the statement. It enables them to not only acquire the protection they need in an informed and expedient way, but provides them with greater control and the ability to manage their own and their family’s policies and financial futures far more conveniently.”

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