Speech by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan at the Opening Ceremony of ICBC Branch in Mumbai

(Mumbai, September 15th, 2011)

Honorable Mr. Yang Kaisheng, President of ICBC,

Honorable Mr. Chandrakant Salunkhe, Founder President of Small& Medium Business Development Chamber of India

Distinguished gusts,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This evening we are assembled here in Mumbai, the financial and business center of India, to inaugurate the first branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in India. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in India and Chinese Consulate Generals in Mumbai and Calcutta, I would like first to extend heartfelt congratulations to President Yang Kaisheng and his colleagues for the successful launch of the branch. I also want to express sincere thanks to all Indian friends who have lent their invaluable support which made today's opening possible.

The opening of the ICBC branch in Mumbai is a realization of one of the major outcomes of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India last December. It represents a new milestone in the development of China and India economic relations, and will surely broaden the scope of cooperation between our two countries.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is a leading financial enterprise both at home and abroad. At the end of 2010, ICBC has hold total assets of more than 2,000 billion US dollars with its market capitalization around 233.5 billion US dollars, ranking the first in the world. At the same time, the bank maintained its status as the most profitable bank in China last year.

ICBC has also made big headway in its international development strategies aiming at increasing its presence both in developed and emerging markets. Today, ICBC has set up 220 overseas institutions in more than 30 countries and regions covering all major international financial centers, establishing a world-wide service network and becoming one of the largest global lenders by market value. With its leading market position, high-quality customers, diversified business structure, strong innovation capacity, market competitiveness and excellent brand value, ICBC is able to provide high quality services to customers from all over the world, including the Indian customers.

Ladies and Gentleman,

The opening of ICBC branch in Mumbai comes at the most opportune moment when China-India bilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation are gaining new momentum. As two fast emerging economies, China-India economic cooperation has maintained a sustained growth in recent years in spite of the global financial crisis. China and India today are major trading partners of each other. Two-way trade volume reached 61.7 billion USD in 2010, an increase of 20 times within 10 years. During the first half of this year, the bilateral trade maintains a strong growth. The trade volume has reached 35.27 billion USD, with 16.1% of increase year on year.

Recent years has also witnessed growing mutual investments between two countries. From Chinese side, Some top-notch companies, such as Huawei, ZTE, Sinosteel, Sany heavy Industry and Liugong, have invested and operated in India. Apart from that, many more Chinese enterprises are also actively looking into the possibility to invest in India in infrastructure, manufacturing, green energy, automobile production and steel industry as well. Those investments would not only upgrade the economic structure of India, but also create a large number of job opportunities for the local people and promote the social welfares and economic development in the regions.

In the financial sector, cooperation is also increasing rapidly. There are already several Indian banks opened their branches and offices in China. Last year during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit, two sides signed an agreement on bilateral banking and financial cooperation. The opening of ICBC first branch in Mumbai marks a new beginning of such cooperation. With fast expanding economic cooperation and huge trade and investment potential among two countries, there will be growing demand for high quality financial services from both sides. In view of 2.5 billion population and an annual growth rate of 8 to 9 per cent for both economies, I foresee a bright future for China and India to cooperate in financial field for the benefit of two economies. Both sides should learn from each other and complement each other, so as to achieve win-win outcome.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Guided by the far-sighted and strategic vision of the leadership of two countries, China-India strategic cooperative partnership relations are developing in an all round manner characterized by frequent high level interactions and intensifying exchanges at all levels and in all fields. We are confident that further development of friendship and cooperation between China and India is in the interests of two countries and therefore is irreversible. I sincerely hope the Mumbai branch of ICBC will play an important role in promoting bilateral economic and financial cooperation and make its contribution for the furtherance of our mutually beneficial relationship.

Finally, I wish the ICBC branch in Mumbai great success in the future. Chinese Embassy in India and Chinese Consulate Generals in Mumbai and Calcutta will do whatever we can to help ensure its smooth operation.

Thank you.

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