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China opening banking sector steadily (11/27/03)

    A senior Chinese official said that China has opened its banking sector to foreign investors steadily and foreign banks have become an important part of the Chinese banking system.

    Tang Shuangning, vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), spoke at the Second China-Russia Financial Forum here Thursday.

    He said China was continuing the opening-up process of the country's banking sector step by step to fulfill the commitments made when China successfully entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    China's banking sector would be completely open to foreign investors by the end of 2006 and by then restrictions on the foreign banks would be lifted, Tang pledged.

    So far, 12 branches and 25 representative offices of foreign banks have been approved, 12 foreign banks were authorized to conduct on-line banking business and five foreign banks become trustee banks of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) since China acquired WTO membership in December 2001,.

    China would adopt preferential policies to encourage foreign banks to purchase shares in Chinese banks, Tang said.

    China now registers 191 foreign banking institutions, and 209 representative offices of foreign banks have been established, while 73 foreign banks are allowed to conduct RMB business and half of the foreign banks in China can conduct full forex business.


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