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Standard Chartered Bank seeking local partner in China
( 2003-12-08 09:29) (Agencies)

As China relaxes its grip on the banking industry, Britain's Standard Chartered Bank is searching for a local partner in China.

However the lender is cautious because it still sees many restrictions in tackling the potentially massive market.

The bank's recently appointed China chief executive, Martin Fish, said: "It would be nice to have an institution which had a national licence, but you can't always get what you want."

The bank believes it is primed to tap the mainland's economic growth and savings of US$1.3 trillion that is fuelling demand for everything from houses to cars to credit cards.

StanChart, which set up its first branch in China in Shanghai in 1858, makes about two-thirds of its profits in Asia.

It says it is in talks with some of China's ten joint-stock commercial banks about acquiring a stake in one of them.

Rivals Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings Plc have already taken slices of Chinese banks.

However industry executives often cite a crucial limitation on developing a banking business in China: a requirement that each full-service branch be backed by capital of around 500 million yuan, or US$60 million.

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