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Mon 4 Feb 2008 01:37 PM

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China’s biggest bank given QFC approval

Chinese news agency reports ICBC has gained regulatory approval.

China's biggest bank has been granted permission to set up operations in Qatar, the Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will offer wholesale commercial banking and investment banking services from its base in Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).

This would make it the second Chinese bank to launch in the Gulf, following Bank of China, which opened a representative office in Bahrain in 2004.

ICBC is also believed to have applied for a licence to operate in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Jiang Jianqing, chairman of ICBC, said last year that he wanted overseas business to grow to 10% of the bank's overall business. The bank has also expanded into locations including London, New York, Sydney and Moscow.

ICBC made post-tax profits of US$6.9 billion in 2006 and has predicted its 2007 profits will be more than 60% higher.

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