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BEA hopes to loan RMB to mainland companies
( 2003-12-09 10:39) (China Daily HK Edition)

Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia (BEA) yesterday said it expects to be granted rights to launch renminbi loan businesses to mainland enterprises by the first half of 2004.

According to Raymond Yu, BEA general manager and head of the China division, among the eight BEA branches on the mainland, five have been granted permission to conduct renminbi business, but only with foreign enterprises.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission last week gave the green light for eligible overseas banks to provide renminbi services to domestic firms.

BEA's five branches, which are located in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dalian, Guangzhou and Zhuhai, are now applying to extend their renminbi loan businesses to both privately-owned and State-owned mainland enterprises.

The bank, which has about six years of experience in reminbi business, has eight branches, two sub-branches and six representative offices on the mainland.

A new sub-branch in Gubei, Shanghai, will be opened this month.

Adrian Li, BEA general manager and head of the corporate banking division, said demand for renminbi loans has been rising strongly during the third and fourth quarter this year as investors seek opportunities on the mainland under the concessions offered by the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).

However, the impact of CEPA on corporate loan growth will only be reflected after the first quarter of next year, since investors still remain cautious about the CEPA benefits, Yu added.

In order to better serve their customers who are interested in investing on the mainland, BEA yesterday launched a complete range of one-stop products and services with its subsidiary, Tricor Services.

Those services include business advice, applications for permits and back-office support.

Johnny Ng, Tricor's chief executive, said the company has been receiving many CEPA-related enquiries recently from sectors including telecommunications and distribution. He said he expects more enquiries in the coming month

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