BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

Chinese banks forge ahead with overseas expansion

They now have 1,050 overseas outlets.

Chinese banks have set up 1,050 outlets overseas as of the end of 2012, close to seven times the number when China began its reforms more than 30 years ago, said the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the banking regulator.

Fan Wenzhong, director of the international department, said that 16 Chinese banks set up overseas outlets. Boosting the banking sector's global reach are the expansion of investments from Chinese firms in foreign markets and the accelerating pace of the renminbi’s globalization.

Overseas outlets are located in 49 countries and regions across the globe. The Big Four state-owned banks together have 955outlets, or 92% of the total. Fan said the next five to 10 years will be a critical period for China's banking sector to speed up its global coverage.

A lack of transparency in regulatory approval and political unrest in some countries have increased risks for Chinese banks' investment and lending overseas.

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