GENERALE Bank of Belgium, parent of Belgian Bank, has joined forces with Guangdong Development Bank to develop stockbroking business in Hong Kong and China. Generale Bank paid GBP1 million (about HK$11.88 million) for 30 per cent of the shares of Grand Generale Asia from Grand Resources Holdings, a subsidiary of Guangdong Development Bank. It has an option to take up an additional 20 per cent of the shares within two years. The remaining 70 per cent is owned by Grand Resources. Grand Generale managing director Paul Liu Guoqing said Guangdong Development Bank held 40 per cent of Grand Resources and the rest was owned by several investors from companies and individuals in Hong Kong and China. Grand Generale will focus on asset management in the Southeast Asian market and stockbroking activities in Hong Kong. The firm has two membership seats on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and one seat in Shenzhen. Grand Generale executive director Michael Hotung said: 'We are considering expanding the business in China, the Shanghai operation is still in the pipeline.' Initially, the number of staff would be about 18 to 20, he said. Generale Bank managing director Andre Bergen said: 'We plan to expand our business in Guangdong province and both partners will investigate further co-operation in future.' He said the bank had representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. 'We will apply to convert our office in Guangzhou to a branch very soon,' he said. Mr Bergen said both banks would explore various areas of mutual co-operation in banking both in China and Europe where they hoped to combine each other's regional expertise.