In Focus
TRADE FINANCE | Staff Reporter, China

Gulf States a gold mine for China’s top bank

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's assets and lending double, thanks to the booming demand for trade financing.

China’s largest commercial bank and the world’s largest bank by market capitalization said its assets hit US$3.06 billion in 2011, a 146% jump over 2010. It also reported a similar massive rise in lending by 148% to US$2.63 billion in 2011 year-on-year.

Tian Zhiping, chief executive of ICBC’s Middle East business, said the bank has been able to provide clients with a trade and investment bridge.

“We see trade finance continuing to be one of the biggest growth areas for our business,” he said.

Trade financing is responsible for most of ICBC’s regional business. The bank’s renminbi-denominated services, however, are also seeing increased demand.

Last January China and the United Arab Emirates signed a currency US$5.5 billion swap agreement during a visit to the Gulf by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. In early March, Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, issued the Gulf’s first renminbi-denominated bond.


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