SBI set to open second branch in China

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The State Bank of India's second branch in China with a capital of $ 50 million, is set to open at the port city of Tianjin, close to Beijing.

The new branch with capital of about 300 million Yuan, (about $ 50 million) would open towards the end of February, Dinesh Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of SBI, Shanghai branch told media here today.

SBI, which opened its first branch in Shanghai in 2006, and has a representative office in Tianjin, a well developed port city located about 140 km from Beijing, from where the bulk of trade from China to the rest of the world is handled.

A host of Indian banks are present in different parts of the country and most of them are benefited by the burgeoning India-China trade.

SBI handled about $ two billion worth of trade finance which included letters of credit for Indian and Chinese business firms, Sharma said.

The Indian banks based in China mainly banked in trade finance as the bilateral trade increased in recent years.

India-China trade touched high point of $ 74.9 Billion in 2011 but it declined to $ 66.47 billion last year registering a 10 per cent drop.

India's deficit also mounted to $ 28.87 billion.

Sharma says the Indian banks are not much affected by the Indian deficit trade as they looked to take advantage of the over all trade between the two countries.

A host of Indian banks functioned in China in contrast to China's lone branch of the Industrial Commercial Bank of China, (ICBC) based in Mumbai.

The Bank of India has its branch in Shenzhen city with a Representative office in Beijing. Its officials say it is looking forward to upgrade its representative office in the capital.

UCO Bank too has a representative office in Beijing.

Besides SBI, Canara Bank has a branch in Shanghai and ICICI Bank is in the process of setting up its branch in China's business hub and Allhabad Bank has a Representative office there. Initially foreign banks are permitted to open representative offices in China and their up gradation into full-fledged branches was considered after that.

Officials of various Indian banks say that their business is good considering the increase in the bilateral trade volumes.

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