Bank of China Ltd said it has signed a cooperation agreement with the government of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to build an open financial gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The agreement was in addition to another one signed on Sept 13 to deepen strategic cooperation between the two sides.
On the same day, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd, a subsidiary of BOC, signed a cooperation agreement with the municipal government of Nanning, capital of Guangxi, on setting up the Hong Kong subsidiary’s Southeast Asia business operations center in the city.
The fourth-largest commercial lender by assets in the country, BOC agreed to deepen financial reforms in the region, and support local Chinese companies that are expanding globally to promote interconnected infrastructure projects in countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Given its strategic location, Guangxi serves as a valuable bridge, connecting the mainland and ASEAN member states. By deepening the opening-up process in the region, it hopes to serve as a crucial venue for the China-ASEAN Expo and trade and investment summits.
For its part, BOC has a long history of cooperation with ASEAN member states. Since 1936, it has set up 48 branches and eight visa centers in 10 ASEAN member countries, providing corporate finance and retail banking services.
The bank’s financial services like project finance, syndicated loans and panda bond issuance in the region benefit a number of sectors including energy, telecommunications and transport.
At the end of June, BOC extended more than 150 billion yuan ($22 billion) in credit across the ASEAN region, up 22 percent year-on-year.
In 2017, BOC launched yuan-baht and yuan-dong cross-currency trading services in Guangxi, which help companies and other agencies operating in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
BOC’s Hong Kong unit serves as the largest offshore renminbi clearing bank, which helps promote the implementation of major projects in ASEAN member states.