Bank of China president Wang Xuebing says allowing Chinese enterprises to list in markets outside Hong Kong would not jeopardise the SAR's role as a leading fund-raising centre for mainland businesses. The poor investment climate in Hong Kong has prompted suggestions from some investment bankers that mainland enterprises might have a higher chance of success if they launch initial public offerings in overseas markets such as London or New York. Mr Wang yesterday said the mainland's policy had always been to try to take full advantage of international capital markets. He said this policy should complement Beijing's commitment to maintain Hong Kong's position as the leading capital-raising centre for mainland businesses. 'It is very important to maintain Hong Kong's function as an international financial centre. As far as the mainland is concerned, Hong Kong is a very important channel for mainland businesses to raise funds,' Mr Wang said. 'This function will certainly be developed further as our economy and financial markets continue to stabilise.' He highlighted the bank's commitment to the future development of Hong Kong's financial services industry, referring to the bank's investment banking arm, BOC International, which had relocated its headquarters from London to the SAR in August last year. Mr Wang said that he expected this year would be another difficult one for the banking industry. Mr Wang believed Hong Kong banks were well positioned to weather the difficulties of last year because many had made adequate bad-debt provisions. Bank of China had had the same experience, Mr Wang said. Although the bank's profit had plummeted 40 per cent last year, its asset quality had improved greatly because of pre-emptive measures to increase bad-debt provisions. The bank yesterday appointed Liu Jinbao as chief executive of Bank of China Hong Kong Macau regional office, replacing Jiang Zuqi. Mr Liu has also been appointed the bank's vice-chairman.