SUMMARY FOR THE THIRD QUARTER
AIA’s wholly-owned operation in China continued to be our fastest growing business in the third quarter. VONB growth was driven by higher agent productivity and a significant increase in the number of active agents. This excellent performance was the direct result of the consistent execution of our strategy to recruit and develop full-time, professional agents that are better able to serve the rapidly growing financial needs of consumers in China.
AIA Hong Kong delivered strong double-digit VONB growth in the third quarter. We continued to benefit from strong performances in our agency and partnership distribution channels and with broad-based growth across a number of different customer segments. The growth rate in the retail IFA channel moderated in line with our expectations as highlighted in our first-half results. Our agency performance was driven by an increase in the number of active agents and a positive shift in product mix resulting in a higher VONB margin.
In Singapore, VONB was higher compared with the third quarter of 2016, mainly driven by strong growth in the agency channel from enhanced agent productivity and an increase in the number of active agents. VONB in Thailand was lower in the third quarter, consistent with the performance in the first half, and we remain focused on the ongoing transformation of our market-leading agency distribution.
Malaysia delivered solid VONB growth from increased sales of unit-linked business in both our agency and bancassurance channels. Our Other Markets segment continued to deliver very strong VONB growth with excellent performances across a number of our individual markets, including Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam.
ANP grew by 3 per cent to US$1,367 million, while VONB margin increased by 8.4 pps to 59.1 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2016. The increase in VONB margin was mainly the result of positive changes in geographical mix, product mix and others. Margin reported on a present value of new business premium (PVNBP) basis was higher at 10 per cent for the nine months ended 31 August 2017 compared with 9 per cent for the same period in the prior year with largely positive movements across our broad product categories. Long-term economic assumptions remain unchanged from those shown in our Annual Report 2016, following the same approach that we have applied consistently for quarterly new business highlights.
TWPI grew strongly by 15 per cent to US$6,534 million, compared with the third quarter of 2016.