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Over 10 Overseas Banks Plan to Incorporate in Shanghai
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Less than two weeks after China released new rules regarding the opening of the financial sector on December 11, more than 10 foreign banks said they intend to incorporate in Shanghai to qualify for renminbi retail business.

Meanwhile, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) yesterday provided additional details to the rules to give foreign banks a more competitive start.

According to a report obtained by the Shanghai Municipal Office of Finance Service, a local government body in charge of compiling and formulating new financial plans and projects, at least 10 overseas banks plan to set up incorporated branches in Shanghai.

The UK-based Standard Chartered Bank has filed an application. Among other banks preparing to apply are Europe's biggest bank by market value, HSBC, and Hong Kong-listed Bank of East Asia.

A survey of more than 3,300 Chinese bank customers shows that about 85 per cent of those polled are looking forward to foreign players dealing in renminbi, as many are unsatisfied with domestic lenders.

The CBRC yesterday released an amendment to the rules giving foreign lenders a five-year grace period before they must reduce their renminbi loan-to-deposit ratio to less than 75 percent.

According to the draft amendment, locally incorporated foreign banks have to keep their total lending at no higher than 75 per cent of all deposits by December 1, 2011.

The amendment also gave a three-year grace period before foreign banks are prevented from lending over 10 percent of their capital to a single client.

The additions to the rules are expected to help foreign banks suffering from shortage of renminbi deposits to have enough time to improve their financial status.

Shanghai sees the influx of foreign lenders as a boost in its bid to become an international financial centre and China's banking hub by 2010. In the Shanghai Municipal Office of Finance Service's report on the 10 banks, it also outlined plans for the city's financial future. The office will actively promote the innovation of financial sectors, develop new products as soon as possible and propel the development of the financial derivatives market, it said.

(China Daily November 29, 2006)

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