French insurance giant AXA is shrugging off lower margins and slower growth in the U.K., where it has a customer base of 10 million, in favor of expanded business in the East. A $4.1 billion sale of its British life and savings units to buyout fund Resolution could provide cash for growth as it expands its life insurance and wealth-management businesses.

With AXA's Asia Pacific revenues shooting up 50% from a year ago, the company hopes to triple its earnings from emerging economies such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia by 2015.