Agricultural Bank of China opens London subsidary

Updated: 2012-02-10 14:45

By Wang Xiaotian (

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BEIJING – The Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (ABC), a major State-owned commercial lender ranked among the "Big Four" in China, announced on Friday it has launched an overseas subsidiary in London.

The London subsidiary started operation on Thursday, marking "significant progress" in ABC's strategy to explore the international market, the bank said in a press release.

"The establishment of the London unit will support our expansion in the European market and our efforts to create a 24-hour global capital operation platform, as well as a multi-currency cross-border settlement network," it said.

Jiang Chaoliang, chairman of ABC, said the lender will continue to execute its international development strategy and integrate overseas development with its domestic operations.

The London subsidiary will concentrate on wholesale banking, including corporate deposits, syndicated loans, bilateral loans, trade financing, international settlement, and foreign exchange settlement and transactions.

"The London unit will rely on the strong customer, financial, and network advantages of its parent bank to serve Chinese enterprises operating overseas, foreign companies that have close trade connections with China, and local businesses in Britain," ABC said.

To date, ABC has established 10 overseas institutions in eight countries and regions, and uses 1,365 agent banks globally. Last year, it was the world's fifth largest commercial lender by market value.

ABC's steps followed other major Chinese lenders, which have increasingly explored global markets in recent years, especially since the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

In the two years since the end of 2008, overseas assets of the Big Four banks - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), China Construction Bank Corp (CCB), Bank of China Ltd (BOC) and ABC- have increased from 2.41 trillion yuan to 3.43 trillion yuan. The number of overseas institutions has increased from 959 to 1,212.