Four foreign banks will provide retail
yuan services to people across China from today.
HSBC, Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of East Asia passed the
regulator's audit last Thursday and now have unlimited access to the country's
$2-trillion domestic household savings.
The banks, however, have said they mainly intend to promote wealth management
services and target China's wealthier customers.
Domestic lenders, trying to fend off competition in the retail market, are
also stepping up their efforts to court higher-end
services such as private banking.
The four overseas institutions have more than 100 outlets across China. They
said over the weekend that their Shanghai branches would offer full yuan
services from today while others are expected to do so shortly.
"It's an important milestone in our bank's development and a significant
beginning for us to provide full banking service to large numbers of domestic
residents," said Yu Xueqiang, head of Bank of East Asia's China business.
In addition to wealth management, the four banks can now provide a wide range
of services, including mortgage
They could also expand their funding sources for corporate banking business
by gaining access to personal savings and inter-bank borrowing.
The four banks, however, have fewer branches than their established domestic
rivals. As such, they plan to highlight their wealth
management services and target high-end customers by requiring
Standard Chartered said it would roll out various renminbi products for
customers under two retail brands - Priority Banking and Excel Banking.
HSBC will concentrate on its Premier Wealth Management service for its retail
banking business and charge 300 yuan a month to handle accounts with less than
Last week, Citigroup became the first foreign bank in China to offer a yuan-denominated investment
linked insurance product.