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Carrying out National Strategies and Giving Play to BOC¡¯s Advantages In an Effort to Boost a New Round of High-level Opening up

By Liu Liange, Chairman of Bank of China


The world today is facing a significant change unprecedented in a century. The global economy experiences fundamental integration, economic globalization suffers adversity, and global governance embraces accelerated reform. Standing in a new historical position, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has vigorously boosted a new round of high-level opening up, providing new opportunities for China¡¯s financial institutions to further develop and enhance their global competitiveness.

The launch of CIIE has been an important decision made by China to boost a new round of high-level opening up, demonstrating the country¡¯s strong determination and practical actions in opening wider to the world. As the most globalized and integrated Chinese bank, Bank of China (BOC) has taken the initiative to shoulder the responsibility of facilitating the country¡¯s new round of high-level opening up with its financial strengths, and given full play to its strengths in serving the CIIE. Under the guidance of relevant national ministries and commissions, the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and Shanghai Municipal People¡¯s Government, BOC has upgraded its role from the sole Full-service Banking Partner of the 1st CIIE in 2018 to the sole Strategic Partner of the CIIE in 2019.

As China¡¯s largest economic hub, Shanghai serves as an important window showcasing the new round of high-level opening up. In recent years, Shanghai has accelerated the pace of building itself into the world¡¯s economic, financial, trade, shipping, and science and technology innovation centers. The city has pioneered major tasks on national agenda, such as the expansion of its Free Trade Zone and the establishment of the SSE STAR Market where a registration-based listing system is being tested. By dedicating itself to the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai has grown into a stronger and more internationally visible powerhouse, driving forward China¡¯s economic development, foreign economic and trade cooperation and participation in global governance. In January 2019, the People¡¯s Bank of China and relevant national ministries and commissions jointly issued the Action Plan for the Construction of Shanghai International Financial Center (2018-2020), which would see the city become a worldwide financial hub compatible with China¡¯s economic strength and the Renminbi¡¯s international status by 2020. With further financial opening-up policies put into practice and additional financial products and business models experimented in this city, Shanghai is catching up with global leading financial markets in transaction volumes, concentration of financial institutions and diversity of financial infrastructures.

Shanghai was the place where, in 1912, BOC set sail for its glorious journey. Looking back over the past 107 years, BOC has always adhered to serving national strategies and actively participated in the overall economic development and opening up of the country. First, BOC has been consistently going global. The Bank now has an overseas network covering 57 countries and regions, and a business scope including commercial banking, investment banking, direct investment, securities, insurance, fund management and aircraft leasing. BOC thus enjoys the widest international presence and has the most diversified service capabilities among all Chinese banks. Second, BOC has taken concrete measures to deliver financial service innovation along the ¡°Belt and Road¡±. With great efforts to build the ¡°Belt and Road¡± financial artery, BOC has backed more than 600 major ¡°Belt and Road¡± projects and provided credit facility totaling over RMB140 billion. Third, BOC has actively promoted Renminbi internationalization. The Bank has been appointed as the local RMB clearing bank in 13 overseas countries and regions, accounting for nearly half of such mandates in total, and its cross-border RMB clearing and settlement transaction volume has been ranked the first in the world for years in a row. Fourth, BOC has provided strong support to Chinese enterprises in exploring the international market. BOC has been the first to introduce the ¡°SME Cross-border Matchmaking Services¡±. The Bank serves as the Chair for the China Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, and the Chinese Chair for both the China-France Business Council and the China-Italy Business Forum. It has held 61 matchmaking fairs for 30,000 enterprises from more than 110 countries and regions, helping Chinese enterprises to integrate into the global industrial chain, value chain and capital chain. In the ¡°2019 Top 1000 World Banks¡± list released by The Banker, BOC ranked fourth by Tier 1 capital.

BOC has always taken Shanghai as a strategic stronghold in serving national strategies and pursuing globalization. Thus, BOC has set up the second headquarters in Shanghai, in a bid to take full advantage of the policy advantages including the new section of the free trade zone and the location advantages brought by the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. BOC will take a committed role in the building of Shanghai into an international financial center and act as the financial bridge for domestic enterprises and individuals to ¡°go global¡±. First, BOC will serve the CIIE in an all-round way. Drawing on its strengths in the global service network, BOC supports the overseas promotion led by the CIIE Bureau. The Bank helps invite domestic and foreign exhibitors and traders, provides on-site services and offers tailor-made financial service packages, thus facilitating CIIE to become a ¡°high-level and fruitful event that steadily grows in quality and influence¡±. Second, BOC will actively innovate financial services in free trade zones. BOC is among the first to establish branches in the new section of Shanghai Free Trade Zone. It opened and processed the first batch of accounts, RMB deposits and loans, trade facilitation settlement, two-way capital pool of cross-border RMB and other businesses in the new section, and will spread relevant innovative businesses to other free trade zones. Third, BOC will earnestly implement the coordinated regional development strategy. BOC is the first bank to launch ¡°Comprehensive Financial Service Package for the Integration of the Yangtze River Delta¡±, fully supporting infrastructure connectivity, industrial transformation and upgrading, and technology innovation in the region. At present, BOC¡¯s outstanding loans in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei account for about 60% of its total domestic loans. In the next five years, BOC will increase credit and other resources in the Yangtze River Delta by over RMB1 trillion. Fourth, BOC will enrich and enhance its Shanghai Headquarters. In line with the country¡¯s move to further open the financial sector, BOC will enrich its Shanghai Headquarters with new types of businesses and expanded scope of services, thus putting the Shanghai Headquarters on a strong footing compatible with the city¡¯s status as an international financial center. BOC has set up its Fintech subsidiary in Shanghai to boost its bid in becoming a global Science & Technology Innovation Center. In doing so, the Bank also accelerates its own digital transformation and business scenario evolution, and becomes more empowered to support the transformation and upgrading of China¡¯s economic structure.

Looking forward, BOC will adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and operate in strict accordance with national strategies. The Bank will utilize its strengths to better serve the 2nd CIIE. It will help Shanghai fulfill its goals of ¡°Three Missions and One Platform¡± and develop the ¡°Five Centers¡±, with the aim to facilitate the country¡¯s new round of high-level opening up. BOC will continue to enhance its global competitive edges, expedite the building of a world-class bank in the new era, and make greater contribution to the realization of the ¡°Two Centenary Goals¡± and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Source: Modern Bankers  2019-11-05

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