Shenzhen Development Bank, the only listed bank in China, has opened a representative office in Hong Kong as a first step to tapping the international financial market. The bank, the largest capitalised A share in Shenzhen, said it hoped to upgrade its representative office to a full branch as soon as it met the requirements of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the People's Bank of China (PBOC). President He Yun said it was difficult to predict when a full branch could be opened. The chief representative at the Hong Kong office, Qiu Weiping said the office would help strengthen the bank's ties with its Hong Kong clients. 'We have many clients that are Shenzhen subsidiaries of Hong Kong companies and we have many correspondence banks in Hong Kong,' he said. The bank has applied to open new branches in Shanghai and Foshan in Guangdong. A new branch in Zhuhai has been approved by the PBOC. Chairman Xu Jicai said he was unsure if the preferential tax rate given to Shenzhen banks would be scrapped in the future. 'We don't know when and we don't know whether it [the tax rate] will be changed,' he said. The bank pays only a 15 per cent profit tax, compared with 33 per cent for other commercial banks, because it is registered in the Shenzhen special economic zone. Mr He said bad debt took up less than 1 per cent of the assets of the bank as the performance of Shenzhen's enterprises was generally better than those in other places. The bank had assets of 20.3 billion yuan (about HK$18.88 billion) by the end of last year and deposits reached 15.6 billion yuan.