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Fortis Bank’s Shanghai branch has been granted renminbi (Rmb) licences by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). The new licences will enable the branch to extend Rmb banking facilities to and accept Rmb deposits from both foreign invested and Chinese enterprises, as well as to accept foreign currency deposits from all customers, ie, foreign invested and Chinese enterprises as well as Chinese nationals.

Presently, 13 cities in China are open to foreign banks for Rmb business. These are Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dalian, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Nanjing, Wuhan, Zhuhai, Jinan, Fuzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing. The Shanghai branch’s Rmb services can be extended to all of these cities.

The Rmb licences will further strengthen the existing banking activities provided by the branch, which include commodity finance and corporate banking, while laying the foundation for the introduction of other Fortis Bank business lines in this market. Obtaining the Rmb licences is a major step forward for the bank in its expansion plans in China and will prepare the branch for the full liberalisation of the Chinese banking market by December 2006.

Fortis has been present in China since 1902, when it opened its first banking branch in Shanghai. Back then, The Belgian Bank, the former Generale Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary in China, had branches in four cities in China.

Currently, Fortis Bankis present in China through its branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou and a representative office in Beijing.