Banco do Brasil opens branch in Shanghai

Updated: 2014-06-09 02:57

By GAO CHANGXIN in Shanghai (China Daily Latin America)

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Banco do Brasil opens branch in Shanghai

Banco do Brasil on May 30 launched a full-fledged branch in Shanghai. Gao Changxin / China Daily

Banco do Brasil upgraded its China representative office to a branch last week, as the biggest bank in Brazil continues to increase its investment in China to cash in on the two country's strengthening economic ties.

After opening its first representative office in China in 2004, the bank on May 30 launched a full-fledged branch in Shanghai.

With a Brazilian manager and 16 staffers, the branch supports Chinese companies interested in doing business in Brazil, as well as Brazilian companies that see a market in China.

The branch's services include foreign trade financing, bank guarantees and working capital. The bank said it will soon add remittance and foreign exchange services in the near future.

The branch was set up just after China replaced the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner.

"The decision to turn the office into a branch will make it possible to develop China-Brazil trade, increase Chinese investments in Brazil and also the presence of Brazilian companies in the Chinese market," Banco do Brasil said in a statement.

Brazil and China have amped up their trade significantly over the past 15 years, from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $83.3 billion in 2013.

Not only is China now Brazil's No 1 trading partner, but Brazil is China's third-largest trade partner, behind only the United States and Germany.

"We believe that this number has not yet reached its peak. It will not be a surprise to see trade between the two countries reach and pass $100 billion in the next few years," said Sergio Quadros, general manager of the Shanghai branch.

Quadros said the bank, with 5,500 branches in Brazil, is in a strong position to help Chinese companies with investments and trade in a wide range of sectors, including infrastructure and agriculture, by offering special lines of credit at competitive rates.

Chinese companies have been increasingly looking to Latin America for expansion, as the region is in a similar stage of development as China.

For example, BYD Auto Co Ltd, a Shenzhen-based automobile manufacturer, announced in February a $100 million investment plan to manufacture electric buses in Brazil.

According to a report published in August last year by the China-Chile Business Council, a total of 44 Chinese companies invested $90 billion in over 60 projects in Brazil in the past five years.

Banco do Brasil's new Shanghai branch has reportedly drawn significant interest from China companies.

"Chinese companies want to know not only about Banco do Brasil's products and services but also about how we can provide them with the support they need in doing business in Brazil," said Quadros.

To that end, the bank recently established a China business desk in Brazil. It employs a team to assist incoming Chinese companies, helping clients from the start of their operations in Brazil to providing assistance throughout their chain of production.

Within China, the bank is looking at expanding further.

"If the conditions are right, we will surely take the opportunity to build our presence in the country, such as opening branches in other cities," Quadros said.

He added that the bank is looking into the Shanghai free trade zone, set up last year to test a range of business-friendly reforms, and may establish a presence there.

In the meantime, the bank is seeking to work with its Chinese counterparts to bring more Brazilian investment into the country, though it didn't give specific names.

"We will also seek the assistance of such partners to help our Brazilian customers do business in the Chinese market. Just as we are the experts in the Brazilian market, Chinese banks are the experts in the Chinese market, and together, we can be truly successful," Quadros said.