BRANCH BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, China

ANZ turns to China amid global slowdown

ANZ will open additional branches and establish a new rural bank in western China in its thrust to become a leading foreign bank in China. It is now completing final regulatory approvals for the establishment of a new rural bank in Liangping, a county near the western city of Chongqing, with a population of more than 900,000 people.The bank intends to open 20 local outlets by 2012 to add to its branches in Beijing and Shanghai, and a representative office in Guangzhou. ANZ also holds a 19.9 percent equity stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and a 20 percent stake in Bank of Tianjin.The bank intends to apply for regulatory approval in 2009 to establish a 100 percent owned locally incorporated bank subsidiary in China. It is seeking growth in institutional and retail banking by expanding RMB products and other services for mainland Chinese customers.ANZ Chief Executive Officer Mike Smith said: "With the significant slowdown in the US and European economies, the importance of China and Asia to the future of the world economy is now more obvious than ever."ANZ’s growth strategy in China through its own brand and partnerships focuses principally on three high-growth regions - the Yangtze River Delta including Shanghai; the Pearl River Delta including Guangzhou; and the Bohai Bay area including Tianjin and Beijing. In addition, ANZ will use its agri-business expertise to seek further banking opportunities in rural China in support of the Chinese Government’s rural reform strategy.

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