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Russia’s largest private lender expanding to China – Bloomberg

Alfa Bank has applied to the Chinese authorities to open offices in Beijing and Shanghai, according to the outlet

Russia’s largest private lender, Alfa Bank, is set to open offices in China as part of a major expansion plan, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The lender, which seeks to become the first private Russian bank to open fully-fledged branches in China, has applied to the Chinese authorities to open offices in two key cities – Beijing and Shanghai – the outlet said, citing the bank.

The announcement comes after Alfa Bank expanded its client support services for Chinese businesses. The lender said it’s already providing services to thousands of companies working with Russia and has launched a Chinese-language website and support for Chinese-speaking clients.

Alfa Bank’s board of directors first revealed plans to open offices in Beijing and Shanghai last September, saying it views expansion in the Asian powerhouse as “strategically important.” In April, the bank announced it will launch the new branches by the end of 2025, saying the move would facilitate yuan transactions for both Chinese and Russian businesses.

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First Russian bank receives Chinese credit rating

Last year, Alfa Bank emerged as the top lender in Chinese yuan in Russia, accounting for a third of all yuan loans in the Russian market.

The move also reflects growing economic ties between Russia and China after the two countries declared a ‘no limits’ friendship. The process has accelerated in the face of soaring tensions between Moscow and the West over the Ukraine conflict and multiple waves of economic sanctions against Russia.

Earlier this year, Alfa Bank became the first major Russian bank to receive an international rating in China after Lianhe Credit Rating assigned it with an AA- rating with a stable outlook.

The agency attributed its decision to a number of factors such as Alfa Bank’s systemic importance, efficient corporate management, high asset quality, and strong lending capacity.

June 18, 2024 at 08:11PM

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