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RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, China

Japan's SMBC targets China's SMEs through Hong Kong's BEA

To become third largest BEA shareholder.

This is Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation's target in investing an additional ¥35 billion.

The investment will allow SMBC to gain expertise in retail banking and services for smaller businesses in mainland China.

Bank of East Asia runs more than 100 offices there.

SMBC's equity stake in Bank of East Asia will rise to 9.50 percent from 4.73 percent after the Japanese bank buys new shares to be issued by the bank this month.

SMBC first bought into Bank of East Asia in 2010 after forging a partnership in 2008 to enable access to each other's customer base and cooperate in fundraising in local currencies.

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