Bangladesh’s Eastern Bank all set to operate in China’s Guangzhou

by Liu Chuntao, Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh’s leading Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) is all set to open its representative office in China’s Guangzhou province, according to the bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ali Reza Iftekhar.

He said the bank is expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia with its sights set on Guangzhou, in south of China, as the second largest world economy is an important market, with many development initiatives like Belt and Road Initiative and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Iftekhar told Xinhua Wednesday that they would open Representative Office in Guangzhou, China on Sunday.

He expressed the hope that the representative office in Guangzhou will bolster the bank’s efforts to tap more business opportunities there and contribute further to the growing China-Bangladesh bilateral trade.

“We’re best known for our strength in international business and trade finance and our core competencies, include commendable credit worthiness, access to global market through the largest correspondent banking network. As Bangladesh is growing fast we feel we can contribute to Bangladesh economy with our expertise in international business and trade finance.”

Guangzhou office is EBL’s third overseas office after China’s Hong Kong and Myanmar, said the EBL’s Head of Communication and external affairs Ziaul Karim.

EBL launched its foreign office in Hong Kong though its fully-owned subsidiary, EBL Finance (HK) Ltd in 2013.

With a professional management and skilled team, Iftekhar said EBL Finance (HK) Ltd has so far been a successful venture earning profits regularly.

“Our strengths are our commendable credit worthiness, quality governance, digital innovation, access to global market through the largest correspondent banking network, digital innovation, and fast and efficient services,” he said.

Currently, Iftekhar said they are operating in Hong Kong under Money Lender license and dealing with basically trade business, adding that they were retaining 50 percent profit in Hong Kong.

Based on this successful Hong Kong venture, he said EBL opened its representative office in Myanmar in 2015.

“Now we’re opening our Representative Office in Guangzhou to support the Hong Kong business and potential Chinese investment in Bangladesh.”

He said they are currently offering trade finance, project financing, counter guarantee services for Chinese and other international investors.

“We’re working with top Chinese corporate houses involved in mega-projects in Bangladesh such as Power China, China Railway and CMEC.”

EBL officials said they maintain excellent banking relations with Chinese banks and corporate houses operating in Bangladesh.

They said EBL is working with the major Chinese banks including Bank of China (BOC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).

“EBL recently partnered with China Union Pay and have opened China Desk to cater to business originating in China. Chinese Embassy in Dhaka banks with us. We collect Chinese visa fees for the embassy.”

“We have opened a Chinese Currency nostro account with Bank of China as we have started LC business in RMB. EBL is currently working with top Chinese Corporates involved in mega-projects in Bangladesh,” the bank CEO said, adding that China is now the largest trading partner of Bangladesh.

Trade analysts said this bilateral trade volume may reach 18 billion U.S. dollars by 2021.