May 20 (Pakistan time) - ICBC celebrated the opening of Karachi Branch and Islamabad Branch in an inauguration ceremony held at Islamabad, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Guests at the ceremony were Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the political counselor of Chinese Embassy in Pakistan Huang Xilian, ICBC President Yang Kaisheng, senior management member Wang Xiquan and Board Secretary Hu Hao. With the banking permit and business license issued by Pakistani regulatory authority earlier, ICBC is now the only Chinese commercial bank to open branch in Pakistan.
Pakistan is one important country in South Asia, also the world's sixth most populous country. China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors sharing a long border with spanning mountains and rivers. All the while the two countries have maintained good bilateral relations. China-Pakistan economic and trade has been growing at an impressive pace over the past few years. China is Pakistan's second largest import country and fourth largest export destination. In engineering and subcontracting, the two nations have achieved excellent and effective cooperation. In 2010, China has signed new engineering subcontracting contracts in Pakistan to a tune of over USD 1.3 billion. Meanwhile, the bilateral investments between China and Pakistan also gather speed. By the year-end 2010, China has direct investments in Pakistan totaling USD 1.367 billion. At present, the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is entering into a new development phase, featured with wide-range, multi-level and all-round. During Premier Wen Jiabao's state visit to Pakistan in December 2010, the two countries have signed a range of strategic partnership agreement and named 2011 as the "China-Pakistan Friendship Year", bringing the economic and trade ties between China and Pakistan into a new historic phase with bigger opportunities.
The increasingly closer economic ties and investment relations has laid a sound foundation for ICBC to build its presence in Pakistan. Backed by its advantages in customer base, financial strength, network, IT and brand, ICBC Karachi and Islamabad branches will build up partnership with Chinese enterprises in Pakistan, support the local transportation, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure. The two branches will provide quality and efficient financial services for companies and individuals, aiming to become a bridge and nexus for China-Pakistan economic and financial cooperation, play an active role in serving the economic and trade, and facilitating the economic development of Pakistan.
Addressing the opening ceremony, ICBC President Yang Kaisheng said the ICBC Karachi and Islamabad branches will remain committed to the business philosophy of "Customer First, Service Creates Value" to improve its level of financial services. ICBC is taking all steps to become a member of Pakistani community, standing as an outstanding foreign bank recognized by regulatory authority, winning all the praise from customers and trust from the public.
ICBC is the largest commercial bank in China, also ranking No. 1 worldwide in terms of market capitalization, profits, customer deposits and brand value. ICBC maintains market leading position in main business areas backed by its solid customer base, cutting-edge IT technology and diversified product portfolio. ICBC is seeing a continuous and fast growth in the performance and profitability since its simultaneous IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 2006. In recent years ICBC has escalated its international presence and scaled up its overseas subsidiaries and business areas to offer financial services across the globe, setting up a global financial service network covering all the international finance centres and China's major trading regions with well-defined hierarchy, reasonable positioning, diversified and efficient operation. More important, ICBC leveraged its IT strength to incorporate business operation, risk management and information sharing under one global platform. Nine product service lines have been extended overseas, namely, retail banking, bank card, electronic banking, fund clearing, professional financing, global cash management, investment banking, asset management and trade finance. FOVA (foreign subsidiaries operation management system), a system independently developed by ICBC, has been installed in 90% overseas subsidiaries, a significant boost to ICBC's capacity and competitiveness in serving the customers around the world.