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Thursday, December 01, 2011

2nd Chinese bank officially launches operations in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH,Cambodia- China's Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), on Wednesday officially opened its branch in Phnom Penh, aimed at cementing Sino-Cambodia economic and trade cooperation.

The ICBC Phnom Penh Branch is the second Chinese bank operating in Cambodia after the first one--Bank of China-- launched here in May. The bank is the kingdom's 30th commercial banks.

Speaking at the launching, the ICBC Board Chairman Jiang Jianqing said the establishment of the branch in Cambodia was not only an embodiment of ICBC's confidence in the future economic development of Cambodia, but also showed the bank's commitment to bridge Sino-Cambodia economic and trade cooperation.

"China and Cambodia have long benefited from a friendly, sincere, trustworthy and win-win partnership," he said. "The closer economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has provided wide space for ICBC's development in Cambodia."

He said the bank will reinforce its cooperation with Chinese enterprises in Cambodia and support the infrastructure development in fields like communication, transportation and electricity.

It will also extend its financial service to traditionally advantageous local industries such as grain and tourism and provide quality and convenient comprehensive financial service to indigenous enterprises and individual customers, he said.

At the meantime, Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, minister of economy and finance, said the presence of the bank would build more public confidence in Cambodia's banking industry.

"It's great honor for Cambodia that the World No 1 class bank launches here," he said at the bank's launching.

He asked the bank to focus its loans on agricultural sector, especially rice sector, in order to help the government of Cambodia to achieve the target of exporting 1 million tons of milled rice in 2015.

Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), said the bank's presence would help attract more Chinese investors to Cambodia.

"The bank is vital to contribute to the development of Cambodia's economy," he said. "I believe that the bank would bring new technology and innovative banking products to develop Cambodian banking industry."

By the end of September this year, the customers' deposits in the banking sector grew by 17 percent to $4.72 billion, while the customer credits increased by 23 percent to $4.04 billion, according to the NBC's reports.

So far, some 1.43 million people have their money deposited at Cambodia's banks, while about 1.3 million people have borrowed money from the banks, Chea Chanto added.

During the launch, Pan Guangxue, the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia, also expressed congratulation to the ICBC for opening the first branch in Cambodia.

"The bank will contribute to the development of economic and trade ties between China and Cambodia," he said.

He added that the bilateral trade volume between China and Cambodia had reached $1.6 billion in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 57.5 percent.

On the investment side, from 1994 to September this year, there have been nearly 400 Chinese investment projects in Cambodia with the accumulative investment of nearly $9 billion, making China the largest investor in Cambodia.

ICBC is the largest bank of China's big four state-owned commercial banks. It is ranked top among all listed banks in the world in terms of its market value, profitability, customers' deposit and brand value, according to the bank's press release.

By the end of this September, it has established 234 institutions in 31 foreign countries and regions, forming a global service platform covering the major international financial centers and China's economic and trade partners.

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