Dear investors, analysts, and friends from the media, good afternoon:
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for the concern for everyone's health and safety, China Taiping is hosting this year's annual earnings press conference online. First, please accept my warmest welcome and deepest gratitude on behalf of China Taiping.
2019 was Taiping's 90th anniversary. It was also the first year of implementing the Group's developmental strategy of the new era. The new strategy concentrates on prioritizing profitability, and improving quality of service; it focuses on using high-quality products and services and high investment capacity to lead to high profitability and high efficiency; it pushes for an all-around improvement of brand value, market value, and corporate social responsibility and stays with high-quality and sustainable development. This strategic plan combined with comprehensive research and judgment of industry development trends, and targeting at the development of China Taiping. Group's companies have been benchmarking based on the strategic blueprint, taking layer-by-layer responsibility, and comprehensively advancing various operations in accordance with the requirements of the development strategy of the new era.
2019 was a year for Taiping to strengthen its foundation. We have implemented the empowerment plan and launched a series of empowerment measures from five aspects: product, management, technology, resources, and mechanism. These are to promote the transformation of empowerment to core competitiveness and basic productivity; strengthen basic management, and make a series of top-level designs that lay the foundation and manage long-term in internal collaboration, personnel management, investment management, corporate culture, etc.; elaborate on construction of information system--promoting the implementation of a new generation of core system transformation, building multiple key application platforms, and comprehensively carrying out data governance-- in order to lay out a more solid foundation for long-term development.
2019 was a year of fruitful accomplishments for China Taiping. Faced with a complex situation in which domestic and international risk challenges have risen significantly and market competition has become increasingly fierce, China Taiping has united its efforts, with its main performance indicators reaching historical best. In 2019, China Taiping achieved a net profit attributable to shareholders of HK$9.009 billion, a year-on-year increase of 30.9%; the Group's total premium and policy fee income was HK$223 billion, a year-on-year increase of 11.7%; total assets exceeded HK$900 billion, an increase of 22.2% from the end of 2018. The growth rate of domestic life insurance business ranked first among the major peers. The property and casualty insurance business outperformed the market and continued to underwrite profits. The growth rate of new pension contributions ranked first in the industry. The investment business was growing stably. Breakthrough progress was made in major strategic layout. 10 key projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were accelerated, and projects such as Catastrophe Insurance and Cross-border Vehicle Insurance in Macao took the lead; we have been steadily advancing internationalization strategies, new breakthroughs in institutional layout, and premium income from overseas institutions as a proportion of total premium income increased by 2 percentage points year-on-year. The development concept of "Sharing Taiping" is gaining more and more popularity. The company's ranking in the "Fortune 500" has rapidly increased, and it has successfully ranked among the top 50 global insurance companies on the list, achieving a good start in the development strategy of the new era.
At the beginning of the New Year 2020, the outbreak of a novel coronavirus was sudden and spread rapidly. China Taiping strengthened the scientific prevention and control of the epidemic situation and ordered the resumption of production in an orderly manner, maintained strategic determination, actively responded to the call, and took the lead in restoring the stable business operations.
We adhere to the principle of taking the initiative and implementing precise policies to prevent and control the epidemic scientifically and reliably. The group's prevention and control measures have been effectively implemented, and the upper and lower standards are unified, step by step, and orders and prohibitions are enforced. The bottom line of prevention and control work of "two guarantees and one effort" has been firmly adhered to. At the same time, China Taiping, through various measures such as monetary donation, emergency procurement of medical supply for epidemic areas, and provision of risk insurnace for front-line medical personnel, has rapidly invested in the action of fighting the epidemic. As of yesterday, 226 medical and nursing personnel have been compensated in time, with a compensation amount of 14.8 million yuan, and more than 10000 enterprises have been provided with liability risk protection, and insurance funds have been actively used to support the post disaster economic construction of the epidemic area, contributing to resolutely win the overall war and Resistance War of epidemic prevention and control.
We actively adapt to the market situation, seize the business objectives and stabilize business growth. At present, the spread of overseas pandemic has a negative impact on the world economy, and it is also a major test for the operation and development of insurance enterprises. The situation of domestic epidemic prevention and control continues to improve, and the situation of accelerating the recovery of production and living order continues to consolidate and expand. The pandemic situation is further improving the insurance awareness of the people and accelerating the transformation to insurance demand. We believe that with the recovery of China's economy, the mainland insurance market will continue to grow steadily, especially the life insurance industry, which is expected to usher in considerable development. China Taiping adheres to the development idea of "maintaining strategic focus, playing a supporting role, speeding up innovation and reform, stimulating development vitality" and the business strategy of "winning the market, competing to lead, stabilizing growth, and enhancing value", keeps the annual budget goal, business task and key work in place, puts value growth first, and puts profit growth in an important position to ensure the economic growth at a steady rate. Hereafter, flexibly adjust the business rhythm and work arrangement in the first quarter and the first half of 2020 and strive to achieve the annual business objectives. We have formulated and implemented a series of measures to effectively prevent and control the epidemic, strengthen precise services and stabilize business growth, and make overall plans for epidemic prevention and control and business development, starting with key areas and key links such as product research and development, improving effective human resources, deepening Internet channels, strengthening operational security, improving customer service, improving investment capacity, optimizing resource allocation, caring for grass-roots employees, etc. We have achieved positive results in our work.
We believe that the epidemic will eventually pass, and we will surely win the "double victories" of epidemic prevention and control and the achievement of this year's business development goals.
2020 is the key year for the overall promotion of the "empowerment plan" of China Taiping. China Taiping will take the new development concept as the guideline to improve the level of operation, take innovation and change as the driving force to promote high-quality development, take problems as the guide to build a strong line of defense for risk control and compliance, and ensure the comprehensive implementation and effectiveness of the development strategy in the new era.
In 2020, we will continue to grow through domestic development and differentiate ourselves through overseas development. The mainland is the development foundation of China Taiping and our main battlefield, and the mainland life insurance business is our top priority. At present, Taiping Life has stepped into a new transformation and upgrading period of "value orientation and stable growth", which is beyond the initial stage of "spread and scale" and the growth stage of "focus on scale and value". The domestic life insurance business will focus on value growth, transformation and development, and empowerment, promote the transformation of individual insurance marketing mode with "new three highs", realize the refined transformation of business promotion mechanism with "quarterly peak", strive to achieve the value growth of new business to win the market, and ensure high-quality and sustainable development. At the same time, efforts should be made to improve the efficiency of resource allocation and realize the stable growth of the value of insurance business sectors such as property insurance, reinsurance, and pension. The group will also focus on building the "two triangles" regional service network in Southeast Asia, adhere to the principle of commercial feasibility, steadily promote the layout of overseas institutions, further expand the development space, and provide global service network, scientific risk dispersion, management technology introduction and other support for domestic development, so as to enhance the overall strength of the group.
In 2020, we will adhere to the coordinated development of insurance, investment, and real estate to achieve a virtuous cycle. On the one hand, we need to re-position investment institutions, implement specialized and market-oriented operations, promote the reform of asset allocation mechanism, improve market benchmarking assessment mechanism and investment decision-making mechanism, effectively optimize investment strategies, compact asset management responsibilities, and strive to improve the return on the use of insurance funds. On the other hand, we will focus on the Group's main business--insurance, increase investment in high-quality projects in pension, health, medical care, medicine and other industries, actively and steadily expand the layout of "Taiping Town", build a high-quality medical and pension service network, and build a unified health management service system and service brand of the group.
In 2020, we will continue to enhance the development momentum with innovation. Taiping will focus on product and technological innovation, concentrate on the demand pain points and national policy opportunities in the fields of commercial health insurance, long-term care insurance and agricultural ecological insurance, increase product innovation, research and development, and promote the organic integration of products and services. We are building a closed-loop with the "rigid needs" of health management, medical care and living, and auto and travel, and thereafter, making a "moat" of insurance services. At the same time, we will continue to increase efforts in the application of science and technology, realize the simultaneous application of major science and technology projects such as intelligent business analysis system, intelligent fee control system, intelligent investment system, desktop cloud platform, etc. domestically and abroad, accelerate the application of cutting-edge science and technology such as block chain, big data, artificial intelligence, and promote the implementation of new technology in the whole business process in the direction to be more intensive, more efficient and more intelligent, and make them fully available for our fully empowered marketing team.
In 2020, we will persist in solving development problems through reform. We will continue to improve the organizational efficiency through the reform of the Cadre Organization and personnel system, institutional reform and the construction of the division system; we will promote the reform of the resource allocation mechanism, improve the benchmarking and evaluation mechanism closely related to our budget, and implement the "double benchmarking" of performance and salary; we will start with a more in depth management model, set off a "management reform" in the whole system, and unswervingly demand benefits from management; By deepening the strategic change, we will implant the advantages of international operation, strategic customer resources, medical and health care service network into the business development, and utilize our advantages to become the "winner" of market competition.
In the future, Taiping will always pursue a valuable scale and a high-quality development. This will be a sound and fast development, which grants the ability to continuously create greater value for shareholders, customers and society! This year, we timely increased the dividend level to investors in response to their concerns, and to show them our gratitude of their long-term support for the company. We hope to provide our investors with long-term stable and good earnings through sustained good performance and preferential dividend policy.
In the end, thank you again for your care and support of China Taiping. I sincerely hope this pandemic to be over soon. Take care.