Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the Middle East region, became the first Middle Eastern bank to extend operations to China with the recent inauguration of its Beijing Representative Office. Through this move, the bank underlined its commitment to businesses in China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that seek to expand their footprint across all markets where Emirates NBD has operations.
Emirates NBD’s Beijing Representative Office was officially inaugurated by Vice Chairman Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, in the presence of senior bank management, including Rick Pudner, Chief Executive Officer; Mohammed Hamad Al Shehi, Board Director and James Wu, China Representative, Emirates NBD. The opening ceremony was attended by senior government officials from China and the UAE, business leaders, industry decision-makers and media.
The opening of the Beijing Representative Office is part of Emirates NBD’s international expansion strategy, and is the bank’s first office in China. It will serve as a liaison point to facilitate and better serve the bank's clients in their business activities in the world’s most-populous nation and in the high-growth Middle East region.
“Over the last decade, China has emerged as one of the Gulf’s most important trade partners, both as a leading energy importer and as the world’s largest exporter. Indeed, the Chinese business base in the UAE has witnessed considerable expansion, giving rise to a sizeable Chinese business and resident community,” said Al Qassim. “We believe this is the opportune time to expand our banking operations into China, and create a liaison point to support businesses operating in these two key markets.”
Recent studies estimate that trade between the UAE and China has increased 35 per cent annually during the last decade. Both China’s exports to the UAE and its petroleum imports from the country are set to grow further over the next few years, making China one of UAE’s top three trade partners.
Al Qassim also highlighted the significance of Beijing as the launch location for Emirates NBD in China, saying: “China has been leading global economic growth for more than a decade. As the nation’s capital, the home of central government, and headquarters for the state-owned financial services and business sectors, Beijing is unquestionably the appropriate location for Emirates NBD to establish its footprint in this dynamic, internationally leading country.”
“Growing trade between the GCC states and China has underlined the need for efficient and speedy cross-border financial services, and we are committed to developing and supporting businesses both in China and our home region by leveraging our links in all the markets in which we operate,” said Rick Pudner. “Our leadership position is founded upon a pioneering culture and clear strategic vision, focused on meeting the evolving needs of our customers across all business areas, complemented by our growing regional and international presence.”
As a market leader in the UAE, with a market capitalisation of US$4.5 billion as of September 3, 2012, Emirates NBD is ideally positioned to provide customised support for China-based organisations seeking to expand across the GCC. In the UAE, Emirates NBD has a market share of 17 per cent in overall assets and 19 per cent in loans, while across the GCC it is ranked the second-largest bank in terms of assets and the third-largest in terms of loans.
“As more and more organisations focus on leveraging global opportunities, they are also on the lookout for market intelligence, business support and expert financial advice,” said James Wu. “The Beijing Representative Office’s initial offering will include market research and liaison services and will work with customers across both regions to provide all the necessary support. The office will also work closely with Singapore branch covering the Asia pacific region to capture the significant Intra - Asian trade and investment flows”.