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October 22, 2009

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French bank's show of confidence

SOCIETE Generale opened a second Shanghai branch yesterday as it signaled its commitment and confidence in the city which plans to become a global financial center.

France's second-largest bank's expansion in China has gained momentum since it opened the first branch in Beijing last November. It has seven branches nationwide so far and aims to create a network of 50 outlets.

"We hope our network can cover all major cities in China," said Jackson Cheung, chief executive officer of Societe Generale (China) Ltd. "We also hope to bring our expertise to help Shanghai achieve its goal to be a global financial center."

Societe Generale opened its first outlet in Shanghai in April. Beijing and Shanghai are the only two cities on China's mainland with two Societe Generale's branches each.

Societe Generale (China) Ltd, the locally incorporated subsidiary of the French banking giant, was set up in September 2008 in Beijing with a registered capital of 4 billion yuan (US$586 million). It expects to be profitable in two to three years.

The Chinese market is strategically important for Societe Generale at a time when the global financial crisis is eating into the profits of many banks. In the second quarter, the French bank posted a net profit of 309 million euros (US$445 million), down from 644 million euros a year ago.

China's banking regulator approved in August Societe Generale's application to offer retail yuan services.




 

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