Business / Economy

Chinese bank eyes global expansion via Belt and Road

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-10 11:00

XI'AN - China Construction Bank (CCB) is eyeing the China-proposed "Belt and Road" Asian trade infrastructure initiatives as an opportunity for it to win international clients.

During promotional activity jointly held by CCB and the government of northwest China's Shaanxi province in provincial capital Xi'an, almost 47 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) worth of prospective investment has been raised for nine projects related to the scheme.

The chairman of the bank, a major state-owned lender, said on Thursday that it will raise and lend no less than 150 billion yuan in new capital for infrastructure and other major projects in the province over the next three years.

Shaanxi's government has predicted it will need more than 2.45 trillion yuan of investment to finance 372 key projects. Investment in 2015 alone will reach 280.8 billion yuan, it expects.

Such a sum can not be raised by a single bank and requires diversified financing channels. CCB has form in this regard. It sought cooperation from insurance, trust, securities firms as well as fund and financial leasing companies in raising 104.9 billion yuan for 50 major projects in Shaanxi last year. The projects involved railways, roads, water and energy.

"Excluding Shaanxi, we have currently received capital assistance applications with an estimated value of 200 billion yuan from across the country," said CCB Chairman Wang Hongzhang.

"The Belt and Road initiatives have not only brought opportunities for the development of local economies and Chinese companies' exploration of the global market, they also bring huge business resources for Chinese banks to internationalize their operations," Wang said.

According to actions plan released by the Chinese government in March, multiple financing measures are proposed to finance the Belt and Road initiatives, including expanding bilateral currency swaps, opening up the Asian securities market, utilizing new institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and encouraging Chinese banks and companies to issue bonds overseas.

The CCB's service networks currently cover 20 countries and regions. Wang expects that number will expand to more than 30 by the end of the year.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping while visiting Central Asian and Southeast Asian nations in 2013, the Belt and Road initiatives aims to better connect the Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, boost investment and consumption, and create demand and job opportunities.

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