On June 21 (local time), the opening ceremony of the China CITIC Bank London branch was held in London, the UK. About 300 guests, representing the Chinese and British governments, British regulatory authorities, financial institutions, Chinese and British businesses as well as professional institutions, attended the event. The approval for China CITIC Bank's establishment of the London branch has been included in the policy outcomes of the 10th China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue held not long ago. Li Qingping, chairperson of China CITIC Bank, Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, China-Britain Business Council chairman-elect, and Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, attended the opening ceremony and inaugurated the branch.
When addressing the ceremony, Li Qingping, chairperson of China CITIC Bank, said as a global financial center, the largest offshore RMB hub in Europe, and the most active financial trading center in the world, London has created a better ecosystem for the development of Chinese banks. With the opening of the London branch, China CITIC Bank will further integrate into the global market, greatly enhancing the cross-border service facilities to back Chinese-funded enterprises, local UK enterprises and multinational companies with more comprehensive package of financial service and contributing to the deepening of economic and trade cooperation between China and the UK.
Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, offered his congratulations on the opening of the China CITIC Bank London branch, saying it is an important milestone in the efforts of Chinese banks to explore the global market, which reflects China's determination to integrate into the international financial market. He said this marks a new development of ever-closer China-UK financial cooperation. The inauguration of the China CITIC Bank London branch is another “vote of confidence” given to the prospects of China-UK financial cooperation from Chinese financial institution, and a testament to China's continued reform and opening-up.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, China-Britain Business Council chairman-elect, said China has made extraordinary efforts and achieved excellent results, hoping that China and the UK will deepen their cooperation and embark on a great journey together.
Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain's 48 Group Club, said, “With the deepening and development of China's ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and further strengthening of global economic cooperation, more and more financial centers will open in the world. London should be aware of this opportunity, and build financial centers outside London based on China-UK cooperation in London.”
The official opening of the London branch is an important milestone for the internationalization of China CITIC Bank, which will help the bank improve its service capabilities and market influence in areas such as comprehensive cross-border financing, cross-border investment banking and financial markets. The London branch will actively integrate into the local market to further support Chinese companies to “go global”, provide Chinese and British corporate customers with comprehensive domestic and foreign financial services, and build bridges for financial cooperation in capital market connectivity, RMB internationalization, trade & investment and other areas. Leveraging London's unique position as a world class financial center, the London branch will accelerate its development into “China CITIC Bank's cross-border business center, overseas capital transaction center and international talent development center in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)” as well as “CITIC Group's overseas regional business coordination center”.
In recent years, with the implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative and the advancement of the RMB internationalization, China CITIC Bank has continued to improve its global presence. Currently, China CITIC Bank International, a wholly owned subsidiary of China CITIC Bank, has more than 30 branches in locations such as Hong Kong, Macau, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore. In November 2016, China CITIC Bank officially opened its Sydney representative office. In April 2018, China CITIC Bank became a shareholder in Kazakhstan's Altyn Bank. At the end of 2018, Altyn Bank's customer loans exceeded KZT150 billion (about US$400 million), posting a 30% increase and becoming the highest-rated international bank among all commercial banks in Kazakhstan.
With its continued development, China CITIC Bank has raised its global profile. As of the end of 2018, China CITIC Bank's total assets amounted to nearly US$900 billion (RMB 6.2 trillion), with more than 600,000 corporate customers and over 88 million retail customers, ranking the bank 24th among the “Top 500 Global Banking Brands” and 27th among the “Top 1,000 World Banks” in terms of tier 1 capital. In 2017, the bank was awarded the “Best Bank in China” by the UK-based “The Banker” magazine. Going forward, China CITIC Bank will leverage the synergy of CITIC Group to link domestic and foreign operations and promote cooperation and exchanges between Chinese and British businesses, so as to become a “responsible, warm, unique and respected” enterprise with the best integrated financial services.