Bank of China breaks ground with Dublin branch

07 April 2017

Bank of China will soon become the first Chinese bank to open a Dublin branch, capturing Ireland's increasingly close business and financial ties with China.

This new Dublin branch will support Chinese companies to grow into Ireland and Ireland-based companies to invest and trade with China, providing services such as trade finance, corporate loans and syndications, accounts and cash management.

"The branch will facilitate a new and exciting era in the Sino-Irish relationship,"Sun Yu, general manager of Bank of China London branch, said to China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"With substantial and increasing economic and financial cooperation, the branch will bridge the entrepreneurs of the two friendly countries in the years to come,"Sun said.

Dublin already hosts a handful of Chinese leasing companies, but it so far has no Chinese banks providing financial and corporate services. Being the oldest Chinese bank to establish a branch in London, in 1946, Bank of China again is securing the first mover advantage in Dublin.

Although Dublin's financial services industry cannot compare to that of London in scale, its advantageous tax environment has meant many big pharmaceutical, medical and software companies are basing their European headquarters there, including Facebook and Linked In.

"We aim to be the preferred bank for those companies when they have transactions related to China, as we have better connection to the Chinese market compared to others,"said Sun.

Peter Carroll, a Dublin-based partner at BDO, an accountancy and advisory company, said Bank of China's Dublin expansion fills an existing gap in the market.

"In Dublin we are seeing many Irish and other international companies wanting to expand into China. Bank of China is well positioned to help finance their trade and investment with China, and share local Chinese market knowledge with them in ways Western banks in Dublin cannot,"Carroll said.

Carroll said Dublin based companies' desire to expand into China has increased amidst Brexit uncertainties. "Uncertain business relationship with Britain has prompted many Dublin based companies to look elsewhere for opportunities and China is a priority.”

In recent months Ireland's relationship with China strengthened significantly. In March Ireland became a member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Last December China's central bank also granted Ireland a 50 billion yuan ($7.25 billion) quota under the RQFII (Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) scheme, which allows for investment into China's onshore bond and stock markets.

China is currently Ireland's biggest trading partner in Asia. Last year Ireland exported 845 million euros ($900 million)of food and drink products to China, a figure grown six-fold over six years. In December, China General Nuclear Power's European energy arm signed a 400 million euros deal to acquire 14 Irish wind farms. Meanwhile Chinese tech giants such as Huawei, Tencent, and Lenovo all have operations in Ireland.

Sun said Bank of China's Dublin branch should be opening this year. Its application is undergoing regulatory assessment by the Dublin authorities.

In London, Bank of China already employs over 500, carrying out a wide range of retail, corporate and financial activities.


Originally published by China Daily.