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AIA Group FY new businesses rise 28 percent

HONG KONG, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Life insurer AIA Group Ltd reported a 28 percent jump in new business in 2016, as it benefited from strong customer demand in its main markets of China and Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong-based insurer's value of new business, which measures expected profits from new premiums and is a key gauge for growth, rose to $2.75 billion for the year ended Nov. 30, up from $2.20 billion a year ago, the company said in a filing with the exchange.

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 other major markets include Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia - the Southeast Asian countries that have become a battleground for foreign insurers who are attracted by the region's lower insurance penetration levels. (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)