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February 1, 2010

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UK bank sees China as pillar

"CHINA is a core pillar market for us and China will be the biggest contributor to us for the long term," said Jaspal Bindra, Asian chief executive officer of British bank Standard Chartered.

The 150-year-old Standard Chartered has remained on a growth path through the entire crisis largely because its majority business is based in Asia, especially China, Bindra told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

What this financial crisis has created is the market in the most populous spots in the world, he said.

"What we do realize is that there is going to be an increased focus on Asia because the rest of the world is slowing down while emerging markets are growing quickly," he said. "Asia is a key part of the bank and we don't shy away from making huge investments in China. For China and India, we have no cap on investments."

Now the bank is one of the first three foreign banks with a license to underwrite bonds in the Chinese market. He believed China's goal for Shanghai to be a global financial center and for the yuan as the global reserve currency will help foreign banks expand in the country.

He said China will liberalize its capital market at a reasonably fast pace.

As for the prospects of foreign banks' listing in China's A-share market, he said once that is possible, "we will be very keen to list but I think it is a little bit further away."

A common sense has prevailed that the recovery is led by emerging markets.

First, there is a renewed confidence now in Asia, he said. Many people used to think that if the Western economies struggled then the emerging markets would collapse, but this has not happened, he added.

Secondly, unlike in the past when Asian economies and other emerging economies learnt from the West in terms of economics, financial management and banking, now "they have the confidence to say maybe we should do it our way," said Bindra.


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