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RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, China

ANZ targets ‘pretty aggressive’ growth in China: Chairman

Encouraged by a revenue jump of 80 percent in its last fiscal year, ANZ is targeting “pretty aggressive” growth in China.

The upsurge was driven by demand from the China's affluent consumers.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. plans to increase China outlets to 20 from six “over the next few years” as it makes the world’s second-biggest economy a priority, said Gilles Plante, Chairman of ANZ China.

ANZ Bank is targeting 25 percent to 30 percent of group net income to come from Asia excluding Australia and New Zealand by 2017, up from about 15 percent now, said Plante.

“We expect pretty aggressive growth again this year,” said the Hong Kong-based Plante, in an interview with Bloomberg. “Our institutional and corporate banking businesses are larger than retail but both will grow.”

Four years ago ANZ began a strategy of expanding in the region to offset slower growth in its home market, where the four “pillar lenders” are prevented from buying each other.

ANZ Bank is offering wealth-management products as part of its China strategy and doesn’t intend to focus on the “mass market,” Plante said. The bank owns 20 percent stakes in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and Tianjin City Commercial Bank.

The Australian lender has increased its number of China employees to about 400 from 150 four years ago and expects to hire more, Plante said, without giving a target.

The bank’s China expansion will be spurred by growth in the economy, which is “on track for a soft landing” with gross domestic product projected to grow 9.3 percent this year, Plante said. As inflation eases, the government may have leeway to loosen monetary policy, he said.

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