Sat, Jul 26, 2014 - Page 14 News List

China approves three new private banks: regulator

AFP, SHANGHAI

China has approved the setting up of three private banks, including one by Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), the industry regulator said yesterday, in a long-awaited economic reform aimed at bringing competition to state banking giants.

Previously, China had just two privately-owned banks, Minsheng Bank (民生銀行) and Ping An Bank (平安銀行), according to state media.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said it had approved private banks in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, the northern port city of Tianjin and the eastern city of Wenzhou, which is known as the cradle of private enterprise in China.

The move followed a declaration by the government in March that it would reform China’s banking sector, which is dominated by four state-owned banks — though all of them have minority shares listed on the stock market.

Tencent said it would take a leading role in the establishment of a new bank in Shenzhen, where it is also headquartered.

Two local investment firms, Shenzhen Baiyeyuan Investment Co (深圳百業源投資) and Shenzhen Liye Group (深圳立業集團), are to fund the new bank along with Tencent, the CBRC said, adding that the new lender would be tailored for retail customers and small firms.

Chint Group (正泰集團), an electrical equipment producer, and Huafon Group (華峰集團), whose business ranges from new materials to finance, are to sponsor the Wenzhou bank, while Maigou Group (麥購集團) and Huabei Group (華北集團) will set up the third bank in Tianjin with a focus on corporate banking.

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