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China Construction Bank announces plans for overseas branches
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15:50, December 22, 2007

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China Construction Bank (CCB) is opening three wholly-owned subsidiaries outside the country, adding to the ongoing "go-out" movement of major Chinese banks.

The bank, the country's second largest commercial bank by market value and the nation's leading property lender, planned to open branches in London, Dubai and Doha according to a statement on its website.

However, it didn't reveal detailed information about the timing and possible costs.

It said the plans were subject to approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The statement also revealed the bank would spend 31.5 billion yuan (4.3 billion U.S. dollars) on capital investment and construction projects next year.

Saturday's China Daily citing Zhang Jianguo, the bank's president, reported CCB would extend its global reach by setting up branches and through acquisition.

"My colleagues and I are watching closely to determine opportunities for overseas expansion," he told the English-language newspaper.

He denied earlier reports the bank planned to take over some investment banks, saying it would develop its investment bank business step-by-step.

He said commercial banks would be the main takeover targets, but did not elaborate.

The bank earlier raised about 58 billion yuan from its initial public offering on the mainland market.

Flush with abundant capital from listings, China's domestic banks have now started to eye the international market. The moves were also a new choice for Chinese banks to ward off increasing competition from foreign lenders domestically since the country opened its financial market to overseas investors.

The Bank of China, another major lender of the country, opened an outlet in London last month.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the mainland's largest lender, announced earlier it was planning to open branches in New York, Sydney, Dubai and Doha.


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