Jan. 29 – China’s largest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) became the first mainland bank to be given a banking permit in Vietnam since 1995.
ICBC opened its Hanoi branch with the aim of linking businesses in China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Trade between China and Vietnam is anticipated to grow after the implementation of China’s new free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries this year.
“The intensifying two-way economic and trade between Vietnam and China has called for the establishment of an ICBC branch in Vietnam, a fast-growing nation in Southeast Asia,” Jiang Jianqing, ICBC’s Chairman said in a statement.
He added: “Growing businesses demand a safe, convenient and clear channel for capital settlement and strong financial support.” China is Vietnam’ s number trade partner with bilateral trade reaching more than US$20 billion in 2009. Chinese companies also invested US$3 billion worth of projects in Vietnam.
Vietnam is one of the countries in the region to weather the global financial crisis well registering a growth rate of 5.3 percent by the end of 2009. ICBC is also present in other ASEAN countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.