BOC banks on Chicago branch to beef up business across US

Updated: 2013-03-26 08:01

By Hu Haidan in Chicago (China Daily)

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Bank of China Ltd, one of the country's biggest banks, has officially opened a branch in Chicago, which it hopes to use as a base for new business activities across 17 US states.

"China-US banking cooperation has a profound impact on key sectors in the global financial market," said Yue Yi, a BOC executive vice-president.

"As a large global banking group, Bank of China will spare no effort in promoting China-US partnership and seizing opportunities in banking development between the two countries."

The Chicago branch, BOC's fourth in the United States since 1981 - after two in New York City and one in Los Angeles - will serve Chinese companies doing business in Illinois and other Midwestern states, officials said.

BOC is accelerating expansion overseas as it becomes increasingly integrated globally to help Chinese companies in their international programs.

"The strategy is to serve Chinese enterprises going abroad as well as multinational companies investing in China," said Yue.

For the third quarter of 2012, BOC reported net income of 34.8 billion yuan ($5.5 billion), up 17 percent from the same period of 2011.

The bank is expected to disclose its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings this week.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the opening of the branch reflects strong and growing economic ties between China and the city.

The bank becomes another financial resource for the 40 or so Chinese enterprises already operating in and around the third-largest US city, and its presence could encourage regional investment.

China's biggest banks have been expanding in the US, in the hope of securing new business from Chinese companies expanding in the country.

New York consulting firm Rhodium Group has found that Chinese investment in the US increased 17 percent in 2012 to a record $6.5 billion.

Agriculture Bank of China Ltd opened a New York branch in May. It announced an agreement to provide financing to China Construction America Inc, the US arm of China's biggest building contractor.

In November, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd announced the formation of ICBC (USA), following US regulatory approval of its acquisition of Bank of East Asia USA in May.

By the end of 2012, deposits in offshore yuan-denominated accounts - outside the mainland, mostly in Hong Kong - totaled 600 billion ($95 billion), double the figure from two years earlier.