Bank of China Set for Its Portugal Branch

Published on 11th October, 2012 by

Bank of China Set for Its Portugal Branch

The Bank of China, one of the large four state-owned commercial banks of the People’s Republic of China, may soon open its doors in Portugal. This is good news, of course, because Sino-Portuguese international relations particularly in trade and commerce will be strengthened with the entry of the Bank of China to Portuguese shores.

The target clientele of the Bank of China include Chinese citizens living in Portugal as well as small to medium-sized businesses based in Portugal with exports to mainland China and its territories.

The Fortune Global 500 bank has already filed the appropriate documents to secure permission from the Bank of Portugal. Said documents are related to its request to operate.

The Bank of Portugal (Banco de Portugal) is the central bank of the Portuguese Republic with headquarters at Lisbon, the country’s capital city. It is responsible for the issuance of the legal tender – the euro since 1999 as well as the real and the escudo before the nation joined the European Union – and the overall supervision of the country’s banking system.

The Bank of China has also identified the location of its first Portuguese office – in Lisbon.

The Chinese bank’s move was the result of the discussions made with the Association for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (AICEP). Paulo Portas, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, also visited China in early July this year on this matter. It appears that, indeed, the Bank of China will be part of the banking landscape of the Portuguese nation and, thus, strengthen the nation’s economy.

By the way, The Bank of China is the second-largest lender in China – the first is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – but it is the largest foreign exchange dealer and the largest lender to non-institutions in the country. It has over RMB 6,951.68 billion in assets while its branches in the European Union are spread across several countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium and France.

This is not the first for Sino-Portuguese relations. The relationship between the two countries started in 1513 when Jorge Alvares, the first Portuguese explorer, arrived in Guangzhou. Portugal then established trade and commerce within southern China with gradual expansion into Macau.

It will be remembered that Macau was once a thorn in the sides of both parties but, nowadays, the tides have turned for the better starting from the early 1980s. This was the time when Macau’s future was resolved and Deng Xiaoping instituted his economic reforms.

For the first 4 months of 2012, China bought goods from Portugal amounting to almost €400 million. This is two-thirds higher than the same period last year.

In contrast, imports from China entering Portugal dropped by approximately 18% from the same period last year (January to April). Imports totaled just under €500 million.

Overall, there was a 2.8% increase in bilateral trade between the two countries. China is, in fact, the Portuguese nation’s ninth biggest trading partner.

With the entry of the Bank of China, we have high expectations that the trade and commerce between the two countries will further improve.

Undoubtably another reason the bank of china might have decided to come to Portugal are the new immigration laws coming into play in portugal allowing foreign citizens who then invest in Portugal over a period of 5 years a minimum of €500,000 (in for example Portugal property) the opportunity of citizenship. We are already starting to get plenty of enquiries from citizens from parts of the world that might not have chosen Portugal as a base/place to live due to previous immigration laws.


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Published in: Portugal Property / News and Updates / Money / Business