HK keen to expand offshore RMB business with peers

Updated: 2012-05-16 16:39


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TOKYO - Hong Kong was willing to promote and expand offshore renminbi business with other financial centers in the world, said the chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

"We are open to diversified offshore renminbi markets," Norman Chan told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday. "Hong Kong would like to build mutually beneficial relations with potential offshore markets including Tokyo."

At a seminar on Hong Kong as the offshore renminbi center for global businesses in Tokyo, Chan said the growing trade links between China and Japan indicated a strong business case for the use of renminbi, or the yuan, in enhancing the efficiency of these activities.

In recent years, China is playing an increasingly important role in intra-regional trade in Asia. It is Japan's largest trading partner now. In 2011, Japan's exports to China accounted for one-fifth of Japan's total exports while over 20 percent of Japan's imports were from China, according to statistics from the HKMA.

"The internationalization of renminbi involves linking of the onshore and offshore renminbi markets through three bridges, namely trade settlement, direct investment and portfolio investment," said Chan.

Chan was optimistic about the developments of these bridges. " Hong Kong represents a comprehensive one-stop platform which can facilitate Japanese companies and banks to conduct various kinds of offshore renminbi business, from corporate and correspondent banking, financing to wealth management," Chan said.

Currently, 13 Japanese banks are participating in Hong Kong's renminbi clearing platform, and six Japanese companies have issued over 3 billion yuan ($474.65 million) of dim-sum bonds in Hong Kong.

The seminar in Tokyo was the sixth in a series of overseas roadshows conducted by the HKMA since last year. Similar events were held in countries including Australia and Britain.

Chan said the HKMA was not promoting offshore renminbi business for the purpose of inviting clients to open accounts in Hong Kong. "Hong Kong would like to play a role as the platform for the business," the official said.

Chan forecast that the demand for offshore renminbi financial services and products by customers would increase rapidly and offshore renminbi business will be developed in different parts of the world, as the internationalization of renminbi progressed.

Markets including London, New York and Tokyo had the potential to emerge as centers of different scale in the future, and Hong Kong could create a win-win situation with them, Chan said.