In Focus
RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, China
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Chinese banks gear-up for massive foreign expansion

It’s only a matter of time before China’s banks venture overseas in large numbers to support Chinese businessmen around the globe.

Chinese banks are already playing key roles in mergers and acquisitions by Chinese corporations. Analysts said “going global” is the buzz word among Chinese banks.

"Oversea investment of the banking industry is an inevitable choice as a result of economic structural adjustment and sustainable development in China,” said Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

“The Chinese-funded financial organizations are required to ‘go global' to offer financial services.”

A survey on Current Conditions and Intentions of Overseas Investment by Chinese Enterprises released by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed that 88% of firms interviewed revealed an intention to increase oversea investment moderately within two to five years.

The limiting factor, these firms said, was overseas financing. They said that because Chinese banks failed to develop their products and services synchronously, going global remains restricted by the unavailability of financing.

"Financial enterprises are obliged to provide support for the 'going global' strategy,” said Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications.

Oversea assets of Chinese banks exceed US$270 billion while the number of oversea branches has risen to 1,200, a small number compared with their ambitions.

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