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AXA sets up new units in Singapore, Shanghai, HK

INSURANCE Group AXA is setting up three units across Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong as it attempts to step up its relationships with the fast-growing pool of entrepreneurs and talents in Asia.

In Singapore, it will establish a "Data Innovation Lab" to conduct research and development work for the group's products and services using data analytics, similar to the one that it already has in France.

"The data revolution has a profound impact on the way insurers do business. New technologies for data storage and analysis now make it possible to process volumes of data that were previously too large to analyse," said lab director Philippe Marie-Jeanne.

" The ultimate goal is to be able to offer customers the products and services they want and need, while upholding values of ethics and integrity and protecting their personal privacy."

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In Shanghai, AXA will create an "AXA Lab Asia" which will partner companies to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. The lab, which will be similar to a structure AXA has in Silicon Valley since last year, will also detect emerging trends and identify new talents.

In Hong Kong, the group will launch a new office of AXA Strategic Ventures (AXA SV) to "seize the numerous investment opportunities in the region" and to aid European and American startups in the Asian market. This will be its seventh office, after San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Zurich and Berlin.

AXA SV manages a 200 million euro (S$304 million) venture capital fund that invests in emerging innovations in the insurance, asset management, financial technology and healthcare service industries.

Said Henri de Castries, AXA chairman and CEO: "Asia represents a major strategic focus for the AXA Group. We are already very present from a business standpoint and we are now looking to seize the opportunities offered by the region. This is why we are announcing today a series of initiatives in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong-Kong.

"We are confident that these new structures will prove decisive in identifying untapped opportunities to accelerate our digital transformation and ultimately better protect our clients."