(Yicai Global) Dec. 13 -- As China accelerates the opening up of its financial markets, there will be a host of new opportunities for foreign-backed banks in the country, according to French lender Societe Generale's deputy chief executive in China.
Foreign banks are already helping Chinese companies go global, and the internationalization of the country's financial wealth means they will soon be helping individuals with personal investments abroad, Qiu Yunping said on Dec. 11 at the Lujiazui New Financial Annual Conference in Shanghai.
Foreign lenders have become much more common in China in recent years, and Shanghai's finance hub, Lujiazui, is now home to around 20 overseas banks.
"Compared with 20 years ago, Lujiazui Financial City has undergone a complete change," added Qiu, who became one of the first foreign bank employees in Lujiazuiin 1996. He believes the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping's master plan for an almost-global trade and infrastructure route, is an important opportunity for foreign lenders and their worldwide networks.
When foreign banks first came to China, they mostly served just overseas companies, Qiu said. But once they were able to run yuan businesses, they shifted their focus to helping Chinese firms expand overseas under the Belt and Road, he continued.
Many of them are also expanding their plans for personal banking in China. Several now offer online account opening, let account holders use their cards to make payments through third-party providers like Alipay and WeChat Pay, and sell insurance products online. HSBC customers can also purchase tailored wealth management products through a self-service function in its mobile app.
Editor: James Boynton