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ANZ seeks nod for local status

THE Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd yesterday said it will open more than 20 outlets by 2012 on Chinese mainland after it has obtained the go-ahead to set up a locally incorporated subsidiary.

The bank is seeking regulatory approval to establish a wholly owned, locally incorporated subsidiary this year to enable it to grow further in institutional and retail banking by expanding yuan products and other services for Chinese mainland customers, it said yesterday.

"With the significant slowdown in the US and European economies, the importance of China and Asia to the future of the world economy is now more obvious than ever," ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith said.

The Australian bank is also awaiting final regulatory approval for the setup of a new rural bank in Liangping, a county near the southwestern city of Chongqing, it said. ANZ will also seek further banking opportunities in rural China, it said, without disclosing more details. The bank is following in the footsteps of global rivals like HSBC, Citi and Deutsche Bank which have already set up mainland subsidiaries.

The fourth biggest bank in Australia focuses on three regions on the mainland - the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Bohai Bay.

Smith disclosed that ANZ has doubled the number of employees on the mainland and in Hong Kong over the past year. He didn't give a figure.

ANZ opened its first office in Beijing in 1986.

It now has branches in Beijing and Shanghai, and a representative office in Guangzhou.

ANZ holds 19.9 percent in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and 20 percent in the Bank of Tianjin.


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