The China Banking Association is encouraging overseas banks to set up branches and explore opportunities for business cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"We hope overseas banks will promote the development and construction of major Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation platforms, drawing on their strengths in global comprehensive services," said Pan Guangwei, executive vice-president of the China Banking Association, at a seminar in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Tuesday.
Nearly 50 bankers from 26 financial institutions in nine countries and regions attended the seminar, discussing financial sector business opportunities in the Greater Bay Area with the local government. They will also visit the Qianhai area of Shenzhen, the Nansha area of Guangzhou, and the Guangdong High-Tech Service Zone for Financial Institutions.
"The development plan for the Greater Bay Area will be launched soon. Covering multiple areas including urban construction, infrastructure, technology innovation and international trade, the plan will bring overseas banks brand new opportunities for growth and a huge market," Pan said.
A major aspect of the development of the Greater Bay Area is to build a core financial center. The creation of the hub is designed to promote orderly financial cooperation and competition, as well as the synergized development of the financial sector. It also aims to expand two-way opening-up and connectivity between financial markets in the Chinese mainland, and those in Hong Kong and Macao.
The authorities have intensively introduced measures to support the further opening-up of China's financial sectors since the National Financial Work Conference held in July 2017. The measures will create a better environment for overseas banks' investment and operation in China and will also bring them new opportunities to share in China's economic achievements, Pan said.
As of the end of 2017, there were 1,013 units of overseas banks in China, increasing at an average annual growth rate of 13 percent over the last 15 years. Their total assets grew more than tenfold from 2001 to 3.2 trillion yuan ($501 billion), according to the China Banking Association.