DUBAI, Mar. 5 (Xinhua) -- China's big four banks managed to increase their value of assets in the Middle East from 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to 33.4 billion dollars in 2017, local authority said on Monday.
At the end of the third quarter of 2017, China's big four banks represented 22 percent of total assets booked in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), which is home to 180 banks and 195 asset management companies from across the globe, according to a DIFC report.
All of the four Chinese lenders, namely Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China, have their Middle East branches based in the DIFC, a financial free zone.
Two more Chinese banks have signaled interest to set up a branch in the biggest financial free zone, DIFC Governor Essa Kazim told a news briefing.
"Chinese banks benefit from the DIFC's strategic location along the South-South Corridor as well as from our world-class infrastructure," said Kazim.
China became Dubai's biggest trade partner in 2014. Approximately 300,000 Chinese nationals live in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while over 4,000 Chinese businesses run branches in the Gulf state.
ICBC, China's biggest lender in terms of assets and the biggest bank in the world, has been financing the construction of the projects on Dubai's man-made island Palm Jumeirah.
Back in May 2017, Agricultural Bank of China launched clearing services for the Chinese currency RMB.
The DIFC, whose booking currency is the greenback, is home to two licensed markets, the Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange. In May 2017, ICBC listed two bonds of 400 million dollars and 300 million dollars respectively, as well as a bond of 500 million euros on Nasdaq Dubai.
Due to the rising interest by Chinese firms and businesses in the DIFC, Kazim also released the 2017 annual review in Chinese Mandarin, a first in the history of the 2014-founded financial centre.
The number of financial firms registered in the DIFC increased by 6 percent in 2017 to reach 473, with 11 percent of them from East Asia, 36 from the Middle East, 33 percent from Europe and 10 percent from the United States. Enditem