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Bank of China opens first Dublin branch

By CECILY LIU | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-06-29 15:19

Bank of China on Wednesday became the first Chinese bank to open a branch in Dublin, something it did in the hope of capitalizing on Ireland's increasingly close business ties with Beijing.

The new Dublin branch will focus on corporate lending. Its target clients will be Chinese companies operating in Ireland, Irish companies with interests in China, and multinationals with large offices in Ireland.

"As the most active Chinese bank in the international markets, the opening of our Dublin branch will support the vision and determination of the Irish people," said Tian Guoli, chairman of Bank of China.

Dublin already hosts a handful of Chinese leasing companies, but it so far has no Chinese banks providing financial and corporate services. It is the Chinese bank with the longest established presence in London, having set up a brunch in 1946, and is now set to benefit from being the first in Dublin.

Leo Varadkar, the new Irish prime minister, welcomed the bank's move.

"Ireland and China enjoy a long and fruitful relationship and Bank of China's investment is yet another sign of the very significant growth of economic links between Ireland and China in recent years," he said.

Bank of China is the world's fourth-largest bank, by capital. It has more than 574 branches, offices, and outlets in 51 countries and regions.

China is Ireland's biggest trading partner in Asia. In March, Ireland became a member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Last December, China's central bank granted Ireland a 50 billion yuan ($7.25 billion) quota under the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme, which allows for investment into China's onshore bond and stock markets.

Bank of China does have a presence in Ireland through its aircraft leasing operation, BOC Aviation (Ireland) Ltd, which will continue to operate as a separate business unit.

Bank of China said it has plans to build a diversified products and services platform in Ireland within two years.

In London, Bank of China employs more than 500 people and carries out a wide range of retail, corporate, and financial activities.

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