By Marcus Leach

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) that it is to open a subsidiary in the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1951, the ABC is one of the largest banks in the world with 390 million retail customers, 2.7 million corporate clients and 24,000 branches in China. ABC is now the fifth Chinese bank to establish a British subsidiary, and represents the strength of economic and financial services ties between the two countries.

ABC’s announcement comes as the Chancellor delivers a speech in Hong Kong to the Asian Financial Forum. He will also visit Beijing and Tokyo as part of a trip to the Far East.

“I warmly welcome the announcement by the Agricultural Bank of China that it is to open a subsidiary in the United Kingdom. As the fifth Chinese bank to open a subsidiary in the UK, this further strengthens the strong economic relationship between Britain and China, and recognises London’s standing as the world’s leading financial centre,” the Chancellor said.

UK Trade & Investment CEO, Nick Baird, added how Chinese business was vital to the UK economy.

“Chinese business is vital to the UK economy. We need to capitalise on the rapid internationalisation of Chinese companies to sell the benefits of the UK as an attractive business environment. This is a key element of UK Trade & Investment’s strategy to encourage foreign investment to explore profitable opportunities in the UK,” he said.

ABC’s London subsidiary will be launched on 9 February 2012 at Drapers Hall.

The Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Green, has been invited to be the Guest of Honour at the event where he will make a short speech.

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