Sun, Jan 08, 2006 - Page 11 News List

China allows Canadian banks to increase outlets


Two of Canada's most international financial institutions have received regulatory approval to add branches in China, as the country opens its financial-services market to foreign competitors.

Bank of Nova Scotia, also known as Scotiabank, said on Friday that the China Banking Regulatory Commission has agreed to let the Canadian bank upgrade its Shanghai office into a full branch.

The branch will be the hub for Scotiabank foreign exchange and treasury services in China, as well as offering loans and deposit-taking services to Chinese and international companies, with a focus on trade finance.

Scotiabank, which has been operating in China for over 20 years, claims the largest Canadian bank network in the country, with branches in Guangzhou and Chongqing and representative offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

Also Friday, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Toronto-based Manulife Financial, said it had received approval for a branch in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.

China's business landscape has changed since Manulife began getting Chinese licenses in 1996, spokesman Peter Fuchs said.

"In the last couple of years, the licenses have been coming much more frequently and I think that speaks to the difference in regulation with [the China Insurance Regulatory Commission] and the government," he said.

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