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China opens door wider to foreign banks

Updated: 2005-12-05 20:42

Foreign banks are already allowed to offer foreign-currency business anywhere in China. From next December, they will be allowed to offer yuan business to anyone anywhere in China, subject to regulatory approval.

Beijing is eager to entice foreign cash and expertise into its banking sector, which is saddled with $200 billion in bad debt.

That effort has lured billions of dollars in investment from banks such as HSBC Holdings Plc., Citigroup Inc.and Bank of America.

The commission said that at the end of October foreign banks had had total assets in China of $84.5 billion, about 2 percent of all banking assets in China. Foreign currency loans by foreign banks had been 25 percent of all foreign currency loans.

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