The China Banking Regulatory Commission gave a Retail Renminbi licence to the ANZ Bank, which is the first Australian bank to receive the licence.
It allows ANZ China, ANZ's subsidiary, to offer a range of yuan-related products and services to Chinese citizens. With the licence, ANZ aims to hike by 30 per cent earnings growth in Asia by 2017.
Among the products and services that ANZ China plans to offer to super wealthy individuals are currency deposits, mortgages, bancassurance and wealth management.
The commission has given the Retail Renminbi licence to about 20 non-Chinese banks since the regulator relaxed restrictions in 2006. ANZ worked for several years to gain the permit.
There are about 430,000 rich Chinese who reside in metropolitan Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Chonqqing where ANZ China's branches are mostly located. These four areas have a combined gross domestic product of $5.3 trillion.
"The number of high net-worth and affluent customers in China is growing rapidly and we see great potential to provide our global product and service expertise, and provide support by expanding our China network with a new sub-branch in Guangzhou in 2012," ANZ Asia Chief Executive Gilles Plante said in a statement.
In 2011, ANZ got a similar license to operate in India, indicating the different course the lender is taking compared to Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and the National Australia Bank which are focused on the Australian market. In the same year, ANZ was granted a licence by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to make available yuan services to corporate and institutional clients. Since then, ANZ has opened more than 1,200 accounts in Hong Kong for yuan trade deals.
ANZ has 500 employees in mainland China and 1,000 in Hong Kong. With trade-induced yuan deposits forecast to grow to $76 billion by the end of 2012, ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith said Australia must become a regional trading hub for the Chinese currency.
"We have found that business that participate in offshore Renminbi trade can benefit from pricing transparency, resulting in more favourable trade terms with their Chinese partners," Mr Plante said.
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