BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

ANZ to triple investments in China

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) will triple the size of its banking network in China.

Australia’s third-largest lender intends to invest US$300 million to achieve this aim. Its plans call for increasing the number of its branches to 20 in the next five to 10 years, up from six.

The capital increase is the first since ANZ invested US$392 million while incorporating its Chinese subsidiary in 2010.

“The economy is still very well-placed to expand,” said Chief Executive Officer Mike Smith. “At the moment, the emphasis has to be on business here in China.”

Smith said the expansion target is based on organic growth. The bank has no immediate plan for an acquisition in Hong Kong since everything there remains expensive, he said.

China is a significant part of the bank’s plan to derive some 30% of profit from the Asia-Pacific region outside Australia and New Zealand by 2017. That share was about 15% in November 2011 when the target was announced.

ANZ Bank last March became the first Australian bank to receive a license to provide yuan-denominated services, including deposits and loans, for Chinese citizens. This will enable it to tap local household savings that came to US$5.7 trillion this March.

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