China’s ICBC Opens Melbourne Branch

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 13, 2012 12:24 PM EST

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank in terms of profitability, market capitalisation and customer deposits, has recently opened its first Melbourne branch.

Located in Collins Street, it is the bank's third in Australia, next to Sydney which opened in 2008 and Perth, in 2011. But unlike the first two which were primarily marketed to address a large number of Chinese mining companies capitalizing in Western Australia, the Melbourne branch will target clientele outside of Australia's resource sector in an effort to appeal to new Australian and Chinese corporate and private clients.

''(The) Melbourne branch will be mainly focusing on sectors including agriculture, property & infrastructure, healthcare as well as renewable energy and natural resources,'' Lili Wang, an executive director of ICBC's global board and senior executive vice president, said. She flew in to Australia to personally launch the branch's opening.

It will likewise delve into private wealth management to seize the growing number of cashed-up Asian investors and migrants settling in Australia.

''We are looking to partner with local wealth management firms and expect to become one of the main participants in this sector,'' Ms Wang said.

''Canada, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia are natural recipients of migration of that level and that would continue,'' George Boubouras, head of investment strategy and consulting at UBS, said in The Sydney Morning Herald.

ICBC's Australian corporate clients include blue-chip companies Westfield and Qantas, among others. It has provided funding to a number of projects, including Victoria's desalination plant, renovation of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, as well as coal terminals in NSW and Queensland.

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