Hang Seng, DBS win local status

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-22 06:43

SHANGHAI: Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank and Singapore's DBS Group Holdings said yesterday that they had received approval from China's banking regulator to incorporate locally, paving the way for them to tap the renminbi retail business.

The two lenders were among the second batch of eight overseas banks allowed to prepare for local incorporation, but names of the other six were not immediately available and the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) could not be reached last night.

Earlier, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of East Asia and Citigroup secured the nod to start operations as locally incorporated companies and have begun offering renminbi retail services.

In addition, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, ABN AMRO, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Wing Hang Bank are preparing to register their local subsidiaries in Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen.

"We are very pleased that the CBRC has granted approval for Hang Seng to set up a mainland-incorporated subsidiary," Raymond Or, vice-chairman and chief executive of Hang Seng Bank, said yesterday.

"The establishment of Hang Seng Bank (China) Limited marks a significant new phase in Hang Seng's mainland business strategy and is in line with our longstanding commitment to this fast-growing market," he added.

To be headquartered in Shanghai, Hang Seng Bank (China) Ltd is expected to begin business shortly. Or will be the chairman of the bank's mainland subsidiary and Johnson Fu, head of China Business, will serve as chief executive.

DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia's largest bank, confirmed to China Daily last night that it had also received the green light from the regulator.

"With the setting up of the local subsidiary, and in time to come, we hope to provide the full suite of wealth management services to our customers in Hong Kong and Singapore, and to local and foreign residents on the mainland," DBS spokeswoman Eunice Woo said earlier.

Hang Seng Bank, a principal member of the HSBC Group, has a network of 17 outlets on the Chinese mainland, including seven branches, nine sub-branches and one representative office; while DBS has 10 outlets on the mainland, including those owned by DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.

(China Daily 05/22/2007 page1)

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