The Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia (BEA) has become the first overseas-invested bank to receive approval to operate online services in China.
BEA would offer exchange rate and interest rate information, account checking, currency remittance and other online-banking services at www.hkbeacybanking.com.cn during its initial operation period, Timmy Leung, president of a BEA sub-branch in Shanghai, announced Wednesday.
The online services would go into full swing when the seven BEA branches and a sub-branch in the Chinese mainland complete all the necessary work according to the People's Bank of China rules, Leung added.
Online-banking was considered a crucial area for overseas-based banks to explore business in China, according to Ji Yunbing, deputy president of the BEA Shanghai branch, saying that BEA hoped to foster a close relationship with its customers.
Statistics from the world's top 100 banks show that the cost of running online-banking accounts for just one tenth of that of counter services, and the investment in online banking services by global financial organizations increased by 15 percent between 1997 and 2000.