Ren­minbi-clear­ing taken se­ri­ously

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By MAYA LIU For China Daily

Now that the Toronto branch of the In­dus­trial and Com­mer­cial Bank of China Ltd (ICBK) is the clear­ing bank for the first North Amer­i­can off­shore ren­minbi hub, the next goal is im­prov­ing ser­vices.

“Since the an­nounce­ment was made (in Novem­ber), we have been work­ing on how to do it well,” said Wil­liam Zhu, ICBK’s pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer. “There are al­ready quite a few ren­minbi off­shore cen­ters in ci­ties like London, Lux­em­bourg, Frankfurt, Paris and Sin­ga­pore, and as the first ren­minbi-trad­ing hub in North Amer­ica, we are ea­ger to cre­ate some­thing dif­fer­ent here.”

ICBK en­tered the Cana­dian mar­ket in 2010 and now has eight branches across the coun­try.

“With the valu­able op­por­tu­nity to serve as the only ren­minbi off­shore cen­ter in North Amer­ica, we are con­fi­dent that we can de­velop bet­ter in Canada, and even­tu­ally be rec­og­nized as a ma­jor player by our cus­tomers and other play­ers in the bank­ing in­dus­try,” Zhu said.

Zhu be­lieves that as China’s eco­nomic power con­tin­ues to grow, and Chi­nese com­pa­nies in­crease com­mer­cial ven­tures over­seas, the de­mand for strong bank­ing ser­vices will grow.

ICBK, as the Cana­dian sub­sidiary of the world’s big­gest bank ICBC, has the abil­ity to fa­cil­i­tate cross-bor­der trade and in­vest­ments that are set­tled in ren­minbi.

China and Canada have seen rapidly grow­ing trade vol­ume with each other in re­cent years. As Canada’s sec­ond-largest trad­ing part­ner, China con­trib­uted C$73.2 bil­lion to Canada’s to­tal trade in 2013.

With the ren­minbi’s in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion in full swing, set­tling pay­ments di­rectly in the cur­rency will in­crease the ef­fi­ciency of bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and Canada.

“In or­der for ren­minbi to be­come an in­ter­na­tional cur­rency, it needs to gain wide recog­ni­tion in mar­kets all over the world,” Zhu pointed out, “and North Amer­ica is a mar­ket with great in­flu­ence among all.”

Another pos­i­tive fac­tor, ac­cord­ing to Zhu, is that the fi­nan­cial mar­ket in Canada is well es­tab­lished and reg­u­lated.

“The well-de­vel­oped reg­u­la­tory sys­tem, proper in­sti­tu­tional struc­ture, suf­fi­cient liq­uid­ity and large num­ber of pro­fes­sion­als could help us bet­ter in­ter­act with cus­tomers and pro­vide ser­vices,” Zhu said.

With the ex­pe­ri­ence of is­su­ing dual-cur­rency (ren­minbi and Cana­dian dol­lars) credit cards to­gether with UnionPay, and co­op­er­at­ing with the Bri­tish Columbia provin­cial gov­ern­ment in is­su­ing a RMB 2.5-bil­lion dim-sum bond in 2013, the es­tab­lish­ment of the first North Amer­i­can ren­minbi clear­ing hub will give ICBK the op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther en­hance its cross-bor­der RMB ca­pac­ity.

“Though we don’t own a large mar­ket share in Canada yet, I’m con­fi­dent that our bank has the po­ten­tial to make progress and en­hance mar­ket pres­ence – we are ded­i­cated to play­ing an ac­tive role in bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and Canada,” Zhu said.

Wil­liam Zhu, ICBK’s pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

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