First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE's biggest bank by assets, will expand its international network with the opening of its first branch in China early next year.
FAB received a financial licence from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission that allows the lender to open a branch in Shanghai, it said on Tuesday.
The branch is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2022.
“With the expansion of our presence in Shanghai, FAB can now apply scale, expertise and financial strength to accelerate collaboration across the priority industries of both nations,” said group chief executive Hana Al Rostamani.
“Our extended footprint in Asia means we can better serve our clients through specialised offerings and deliver the next phase of our international strategy.”
The lender set up a representative office in Shanghai in 2012. With the new branch licence, FAB is set to offer both Chinese yuan and foreign currency business onshore in China, it said.
The FAB Shanghai branch will be led by Arthur Zou, chief executive of FAB China, who joined the group in April this year. Mr Zou previously held several key positions in international banks across Europe and China.
“The establishment of a full FAB branch in Shanghai will advance Sino-UAE trade co-operation and deepen ties between our two countries,” said Clarence Singam-Zhou, head of international banking at FAB.
“FAB Shanghai is a platform to align FAB’s offerings with the economic potential of the Chinese market, allowing us to provide more tailor-made solutions to Chinese clients to support their growth in the Middle East and North Africa, while opening up a new gateway to the Chinese market for our Mena clients.”
The strategic expansion is expected to strengthen and grow regional business connectivity between the Mena and Asia-Pacific regions, FAB said.
The branch also paves the way for increased trade and investment flows between China and the UAE, as well as the Mena and the Asia-Pacific regions, it said.