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Australia's ANZ to invest another $300 mn in China
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) May 15, 2012

Banking giant ANZ on Tuesday announced plans to invest another Aus$300 million (US$300 million) to expand its China operations, boosting the number of its outlets across the country from six to 20.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) chief executive Mike Smith brushed aside recent data showing output growth at a three-year low, fueling fears over the giant economy.

Smith said China's growth remained "extremely good" and in line with official long-term targets.

There was great demand for yuan settlement of trade in the key mining and energy sector, he added, describing China as a market of increasing importance.

"Our business in China has grown steadily since we established a presence in 1986," Smith said.

"The additional capital we plan to invest in ANZ China will support further network expansion, growth in customer lending, employee recruitment and product development to better service our customers."

It is the bank's first capital injection since the initial investment of Aus$395 million.

ANZ China chief Charles Li said the bank would launch yuan products for its Chinese customers "within weeks" and he forecast the China retail business to be profitable within three years.

Smith added that ANZ aimed to become a "super regional bank in the Asia-Pacific region, and China is a strategically important market for us".

"We have a long-term commitment to China and will continue to be an active investor in supporting the nation's financial services sector."

As part of the plans, Australia's third-largest bank said it would boost its presence to 20 outlets over the next five to 10 years, subject to regulatory approval.

The bank currently has six branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou. It also has 20 percent stakes in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and Bank of Tianjin.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --


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