By Daniel Hunter

Lord Green, Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment, today (Friday) welcomed the formal launch of the Agricultural Bank of China’s (ABC) new subsidiary in London.

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 major state owned Chinese bank to establish a British subsidiary. The move re-affirms London’s standing as the world’s leading financial centre.

Working with China as ‘Partners for Growth’: the UK and China have agreed to increase bilateral trade by 2015 to US$100bn a year, and to maintain a secure and open trading environment — both domestically and internationally. The UK also intends to raise its total exports to China to $30bn a year by 2015.

“I am delighted to welcome the Agricultural Bank of China’s new subsidiary to the City of London," Lord Green said.

"They will be operating in a city that is known as the world’s leading international financial centre. Chinese banks are playing an increasingly important role in the UK financial services sector and this latest move further strengthens the partnership of growth between Britain and China.

"This was further underlined by the visit to Beijing last month by the Chancellor. I look forward to seeing the company grow and prosper in the years ahead.”

UK Trade & Investment CEO Nick Baird added:

“As one of the most open economies in the world, I believe the UK is a natural home for Chinese firms. The UK is one of the largest recipients of Chinese investment in Europe and China is the UK's fastest growing export market.

"The Agricultural Bank of China’s new subsidiary along with the recent investment by China Investment Corporation into Thames Water and the work to develop London as a global offshore market for the Renminbi are clear demonstrations of the strength of the UK for overseas investors. UK Trade & Investment continues to work hard promoting these and other opportunities.”

Mr Yan Haiting CEO of the Agricultural Bank of China’s London subsidiary said:

“Today marks a new milestone in the history of the Agricultural Bank of China. It’s the first time that the bank has opened an international office since we began operating in Singapore 18 years ago. The establishment of our UK subsidiary is the first step in our globalisation programme and is an important landmark for the bank to build a global financial services platform. I am confident that London is the best possible location to help our bank grow and secure new business from both Chinese and British customers.”

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