London strengthens China financial ties

By CECILY LIU(China Daily UK)
Updated: 2017-03-22 18:36:04

London is ramping up efforts to better connect with China's financial industry in an attempt to cement its status as a global hub amid Brexit uncertainties.

The UK capital's latest steps came on Tuesday when Shanghai Clearing House said it was establishing a representative office in the heart of the City of London. The move was supported by both governments and born out of discussions at last year's UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

The current activities of Shanghai Clearing House in the United Kingdom are limited but financial experts say there is great potential, especially considering the ability of the company to facilitate bond transactions, and China's huge domestic bond market that has opened to foreign money.

"Although our activities are mostly concentrated in China, we have been actively eyeing international expansion opportunities and understanding the needs of international investors, so we can provide them with suitable services," said Xu Zhen, chairman of Shanghai Clearing House.

Established in 2009, the company provides clearing services for bonds, interest rates, foreign exchange and exchange rate, shipping and commodity derivatives. The UK representative office is its first overseas.

The company's interest in participating in international financial markets is reflected in its membership of organizations including the International Capital Market Association and Asian Pacific Central Securities Depository Group.

Its London expansion comes as the city tries to develop closer ties with China. It also builds on existing bilateral financial infrastructure, including a renminbi-sterling swap agreement between the central banks of the two countries and an official renminbi clearing platform operated by China Construction Bank in London.

Earlier this year, City of London Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley led a weeklong mission to China to strengthen financial cooperation. Meanwhile, London's industry-led China Market Advisory Group, chaired by HSBC chairman Douglas Flint, is also actively discussing ways to engage with China's financial services.

"China is a very important part of our financial footprint. We believe continuing to work with China will benefit China's opening and changing economy, and it will equally, in return, benefit the UK's financial services industry and allow it to remain truly global," said Sherry Madera, a special adviser at the City of London Corporation.

Guo Kai, deputy director-general of the international department at People's Bank of China, said Brexit offers the UK opportunities to engage with China on its own terms.

"China probably is the country with the largest potential for the financial industry here(in London). China is not only the second-largest economy in the world, it also has the world's largest banking sector, a booming fintech sector, and the largest green bond market potential," said Guo.

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