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German bank sets for expansion after growth surge

By WANG XIAOTIAN | | Updated: 2013-05-28 11:26

Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, said on Monday it will continue to expand business in China after its corporate banking business in the country grew by more than 25 percent last year.

At a press briefing in Beijing, executives of the bank said they expect to make further gains in 2013, although currently there is no need to set up new branches, judging by client demands.

"Growth in Commerzbank's corporate client business in China is higher than in the whole of Asia," said Edith Weymayr, the regional board member for Commerzbank's corporate client business in Asia.

In the past months, Commerzbank has further expanded its presence in the region, with a cooperation agreement being signed with Kasikornbank in Thailand and a representative office opening in Bangladesh.

Growth opportunities have been confirmed by a recent survey among German companies, as 88 percent of corporations it surveyed commented that they have to invest outside the eurozone.

And China is already in fourth place in terms of the most important sales markets for German SMEs, it said.

According to the survey's respondents, the specific challenges of the Chinese market are the high service and advisory requirements of Chinese clients and the long-term management of competitive prices.

Asia – and above all China – is the most significant market after Western Europe for the corporate client business of Commerzbank, Weymayr said.

Commerzbank has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tianjin. But it has stopped establishing new branches since 2009.

"We are also seeing increased client demand in the yuan bond market. Many of our German corporate clients are active in China and plan to use the local market for refinancing," said Nick Johnston, head of the bank's corporates & markets in Asia.

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