The world’s biggest lender has unveiled plans to build a retail banking presence in the UAE and expand its operations across the Middle East.
China’s ICBC said Tuesday it had seen a 116 surge in first-half profits in its Middle East operations and was seeking to grow its business in key Gulf states.
“The bank has plans to develop a retail banking business in the UAE… and also intends to expand further in the Middle East, prioritising the growth of its business in Qatar and expansion into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” ICBC said in a statement.
The state-owned lender recorded first-half profits of $14m in its Middle East operations, a year-on-year increase of $8m or 116 percent. Operating revenue rose to $19m, an increase of 80 percent on the year-earlier period.Deposits increased 110 percent in the first six months of 2011, the bank said.ICBC, the world’s most profitable lender, said it had largely escaped the impact of the Arab Spring unrest. The bank launched Middle East operations in 2008 and has branches in Abu Dhabi and Doha, and a subsidiary in Dubai.
“Despite the political turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa we maintained significant growth across all areas of our business,” said Tian Zhiping, CEO of ICBC Middle East.“We remain committed to pursuing our growth strategy for the region by increasing the scale of our existing business.”China fast-growing economy has become an increasingly important trade partner for the UAE. Dubai, the Gulf’s trade and tourism hub, has seen a rise in Chinese investors in its real estate market, analysts said.“There is definitely [investment] coming back into the residential at the high-end, but to be honest there is a lot of interest from Chinese investors,” said Matthew Green, head of research at real estate agency CB Richard Ellis Middle East. “The number of transactions is still down, but there has been a pickup in overall value, which is a positive sign.”
Chinese traders are also utilising Dubai as a springboard to the lucrative African markets, Nasser Saidi, chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said this week.In the first quarter of the year, China exported AED10.68bn worth of goods to Dubai and was the emirate’s second biggest export partner.
From / Arabian Business news