Financial institutions pouring into Xinjiang

By Wang Cong Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/27 23:03:39

B&R offers opportunities for foreign, domestic enterprises: expert

Domestic and foreign financial institutions have been pouring into Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in recent months, looking for opportunities under China's "One Belt, One Road" (B&R) initiative, local media reported on Monday.

Experts said that there are abundant opportunities in the infrastructure sector, as major investment is planned, and that will attract even more companies into Xinjiang.

During the past week, two banks - Bank of Beijing and Pakistan's Habib Bank -  opened branches in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, reported.

Wang Yu, a top executive at the Bank of Beijing branch in Urumqi, said that the bank first came to Xinjiang in 2015 to "seize the major opportunities of the Belt and Road," according to the report. Wang noted that the bank has been involved in financing some infrastructure projects in Urumqi.

Habib Bank, one of the largest private banks in Pakistan, is especially eyeing opportunities connected with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key component of the B&R initiative, a top executive said in the report.

Xinjiang is the starting point of the CPEC, which links the region with the Gwadar port in Pakistan. The CPEC is estimated to draw infrastructure investment of $45 billion. "We have always been very active on the frontlines of the CPEC," the bank official was quoted as saying.

These are just the latest examples of financial institutions entering Xinjiang to lay the foundations for opportunities that could stem from the B&R initiative.

At the end of 2016, there were 144 financial institutions in the region, spanning 15 different categories, including personal banking and investment banking, according to the report.

Xinjiang's banking sector raised 293.8 billion yuan ($42.73 billion) for B&R projects in the region in 2016, up 16.18 percent.

Ma Jie, dean of the entrepreneurship school at the Xinjiang University of Economic, said Xinjiang's major plan to improve infrastructure as part of the B&R initiative will attract even more companies.

"Most of the opportunities are in the infrastructure sector now because that's what the government is focused on," Ma told the Global Times on Monday, pointing to a regional government target of 1.5 trillion yuan investment in fixed assets in 2017.

In addition to infrastructure, other sectors such as equipment production will also be a focus of the government to support the B&R initiative and the local economy, noted Ma.

Xinjiang's GDP grew 7.6 percent in 2016, higher than the national average of 6.7 percent, the Xinjiang regional government said on February 13.

Xinjiang has been helping local companies gain more access to the capital markets. On January 5, the Xinjiang regional government signed an agreement with the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The agreement gives companies based in Xinjiang a "green expressway" to be listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, the Securities Times reported on February 25.


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