Eight Foreign Banks Apply for Registration in China

Sunday, 10 Dec 2006 | 10:37 PM ET

China's banking regulator said it had received eight applications from foreign banks for local registration, which it would begin processing Monday, a first step in granting national treatment.

"The China Banking Regulatory Commission will examine the applications carefully and make appropriate determinations," the CBRC said in a statement on its Web site on Sunday.

The mainland issued new foreign bank guidelines on Nov. 16 to fulfil its obligations for entry into the World Trade Organization, which stipulates that the country must further open its banking sector to overseas competition from Dec. 11.

The new rules state that foreign banks seeking local incorporation must have paid-in capital of 1 billion yuan ($128 million), a drop in the bucket for banks such as Citigroup , the largest U.S. bank with a market value of $245 billion.

Along with Citigroup, rivals HSBC , Standard Chartered and ABN AMRO are also known to have submitted applications.

Regulators will decide on the applications within six months, although they can extend the decision for another three months.

The foreign banks must have been open for business for at least three years and profitable for two years prior to the application, said the regulator.

If the applications are approved, the foreign banks will be allowed to engage in full-scale renminbi, or yuan, business, said the CBRC.

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