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Overseas Banks Optimistic About China Business
Overseas banks in Shanghai are mostly optimistic about their business operations in China, said an official from the Shanghai Branch of the People's Bank of China Thursday, Xinhua News Agency reported today.

By the end of May, overseas banks and other financial institutions had opened more than 120 business outlets in Shanghai, with over 20 billion US dollars of assets and 18 billion US dollars in liabilities.

Since the start of this year, many overseas banks have applied to expand their business operations in China. To date, 12 overseas banks in Shanghai have been licensed to launch comprehensive foreign currency services and 27 to launch Renminbi services.

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), a global banking giant, has opened an electronic data processing center in Shanghai, its second on China's mainland with the first being opened in the southern city of Guangzhou in 1996.

The new center, which began operations last week, has over 200 employees and will recruit another 350 by the year's end, said HSBC's Chairman David Eldon.

Following China's entry into the World Trade Organization, overseas banks have offered bankcard, consumer credit and other personal financial services. Some have also tailored special services to foster China's agriculture and food processing industry.

In an effort to offset their lack of business outlets, many overseas banks have launched online services and even promised to deliver services to the customer's door.

They have also stepped up cooperation and clinched partnerships with local banks to enhance competitiveness in the Chinese market.

For instance, the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation has become a shareholder in Shanghai Bank, an act that is likely to be followed by many others, analysts say.

(eastday.com June 22, 2002)

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