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Deutsche Bank broadens China push with Shanghai branch

FRANKFURT, May 8 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has opened a branch in Shanghai's free trade zone, its seventh in China, to expand services to German firms doing business in Asia's largest economy, the bank said on Thursday.

The branch will offer cash management and trade finance services to businesses and financial institutions operating in the zone and active cross-border, Deutsche Bank said.

"It is especially attractive for German mid-sized companies to develop their businesses in China in the free trade zone," Oliver Brinkmann, head of capital markets for greater China at Deutsche Bank, told Reuters.

"It's going to be much easier for foreign companies to finance their businesses in China and to transfer their funds across borders," he said.

Alan Cloete, co-head of the bank's Asia Pacific division and a member of the executive committee, hailed China's efforts at financial reform with the founding of the zone, saying Deutsche would assist opening the country's economy to markets.

Germany's biggest bank has built a broad footing in China, with seven of its own branches plus stakes and joint ventures in other financial firms.

Deutsche has a near-20 percent stake in Shanghai-listed commercial bank Hua Xia, a 30 percent stake in asset manager Harvest Fund Management, and owns one third of Zhong De Securities Co. Ltd., which is a joint venture with brokerage Shanxi Securities.

Germany has also pushed to the fore in promoting commercial ties to China, becoming the first country in Europe to offer a payment hub in renminbi in a move expected to facilitate currency transactions.

Deutsche Bank is the only German bank with a presence in the free trade zone. A spokesman for Commerzbank, Germany's No. 2 bank, said it had no plans to follow suit.

Deutsche Banks' foreign competitors to have established a presence in China include Citigroup, UBS, Societe Generale.

(Reporting by Andreas Kroener; Writing by Thomas Atkins; Editing by Mark Potter)