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CEPA Helps Internationalize Mainland Banks

A free trade pact between the mainland and Hong Kong was expected to bring more international practices of the global financial market to mainland banks, Ma Weihua, president of the China Merchants Bank, said at a meeting in Shenzhen that closed Sunday.

The two-day First Shenzhen Summit Meeting for the China Entrepreneurs Forum, which were attended by famous Chinese economists, entrepreneurs and senior government officials, focused on the study about how the Chinese enterprises could survive and develop in a fast-changing global market.

"Under CEPA, the mainland and Hong Kong could open their capital markets to each other, which may greatly help mainland banks' stock ownership get more internationalized," said Ma.

"The capital market on the mainland can not meet the demand of the local banks, which, under the CEPA framework, could get listed in Hong Kong and raise more money through this new important channel," he said.

Under CEPA, mainland banks could cooperate further with their Hong Kong counterparts in developing new financial services such as capital securitization and new financial derivatives, he said.

As CEPA encourages mainland banks to buy or merge medium and small-sized financial institutions in Hong Kong, which is also a significant way for mainland banks to get internationalized, Ma said.

But three prerequisites would be required for those planning to conduct merges in Hong Kong, that is, an internationalized management, a strong favorable reputation, as well as an overseas listing, he said.

Hong Kong banks may also benefit from the CEPA, which reduces many limitations for them to enter and operate business on the mainland, Ma said.

China will open its financial sector to full foreign competition in 2006 in line with the country's World Trade Organization commitments.

(China Daily August 31, 2004)

CEPA Accelerates HK-Henan Economic Cooperation
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