First Pakistani bank opens branch in Beijing

Published March 22, 2021
The Habib Bank Limited, one of Pakistan’s largest private banks, has opened its branch in Beijing, according to a statement released in Karachi on Monday. — Dawn/File
The Habib Bank Limited, one of Pakistan’s largest private banks, has opened its branch in Beijing, according to a statement released in Karachi on Monday. — Dawn/File

The first Pakistani bank has opened a branch in the Chinese capital Beijing, joining a small club of foreign banks that operate in the country.

The Habib Bank Limited (HBL), one of Pakistan’s largest private banks, has opened its branch in Beijing, according to a statement released in Karachi on Monday.

The inauguration ceremony, the statement added, was attended by clients, regulators and senior bank executives, apart from Jameel Ahmad, the deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, who virtually joined the ceremony.

With the opening of the branch, HBL has become one of the three banks from South Asia and Middle East North Africa region to offer "end-to-end RMB intermediation" in China.

Since 2017, the bank has already been operating in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, which borders Pakistan's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, a key route of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"HBL's presence in China will allow the bank to interact with State-Owned Enterprises and leading financial institutions involved in CPEC and across the Belt and Road Initiative corridors. China is a very important market for HBL not only in terms of the business in China and CPEC, but also for Chinese companies working on projects in countries across the HBL network," the bank's chairman Sultan Ali Allana said.

The $64 billion CPEC, signed in 2014, aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.

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