BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, China

ICBC to open Calgary branch

The lender steps up Canada expansion after setting up beachhead by buying 70% of Bank of East Asia (Canada).

A weeklong city trade mission to China ended Tuesday with a promise by the country's biggest bank to set up shop in Calgary.

A trade, tourism and investment trip led by Calgary Economic Development, as well as Tourism Calgary, wrapped up with Mayor Naheed Nenshi visiting an urban planning museum in Shanghai and taking a 430-kilometre-anhour ride on a maglev bullet train linking the city's central area and its international airport.

The business portion of the trip was capped off by news the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Ltd. will open a branch in Calgary, following on the entrance of the Bank of China into the city's downtown earlier this year.

"They expressed a commitment to having a presence in Calgary. They're the largest bank in the world and they do a lot of work for the national oil companies," said Bruce Graham, Calgary Economic Development's president.

"It's only a question of timing." One of the four large state-owned banks in China, ICBC has a market capitalization of more than $250 billion. Last year, it established a Canadian beachhead by buying 70 per cent of the Bank of East Asia (Canada).

In the past two years, Calgary Economic Development has travelled to Beijing several times to lobby ICBC to move into the city, in order to capitalize on investment in the energy sector.

View the full story in Calgary Herald.

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