By Andy Sambidge
Mashreq, Bank of China set up joint team to help Chinese, UAE firms looking to expand in both countries
The UAE's Mashreq has announced a partnership with one of the largest banks in China to set up a new operation to stimulate business between companies of the two nations.
Mashreq and the Bank of China will establish a 'China Desk' in the UAE, operated by representatives from both banks.
It will offer corporate banking solutions to Chinese companies operating in the Gulf region and UAE firms looking to do business in China, a statement from both banks said.
"The primary objective of the partnership is to assist Chinese companies in expanding their footprint overseas as well as local investors looking to make their mark in China," the statement added.
With more and more Chinese companies expanding their operations in the Middle East where Bank of China has no business presence, the set-up of a China Desk in the UAE will facilitate tailor-made financial products and services to them by partnering with Mashreq.
John Iossifidis, head of international banking at Mashreq, said: "Chinese companies are increasingly important trading partners and direct investors. We believe that establishing a China Desk in the Middle East will enable us to facilitate cross-border activities with Chinese and local companies alike."
Cheng Jun, head of global trade services at Bank of China, added: "UAE is an important market that no Chinese banks can afford to overlook. Our bond will be further enhanced with joint marketing to both local Chinese companies and UAE companies wishing to explore the Chinese market."
China became the second largest trading partner of the UAE in 2010 with total trade between the two countries reported to be worth AED50bn.
The number of Chinese residents in the UAE reached 180,000 contributing to the continuous growth of trade. To date, there are about 2,500 Chinese companies in the UAE servicing various industries.
Bank of China was established in 1912 and is one of the "big four" banks in China with a domestic network of more than 11,000 branches and an international network covering 31 countries and regions.