Beijing's recent policy to liberalise lending and most deposit rates on foreign currencies is unlikely to have any significant impact on the operations of the Bank of China, according to the chief of the Bank of China Shenzhen (BOC Shenzhen). Vice-governor Zeng Bochao said that the liberalisation move has encouraged smaller players to be more active in lending and depositing foreign currencies. However, he said BOC Shenzhen had eaten up about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the market share and did not believe the liberalisation would seriously hit business. The central bank, the People's Bank of China, liberalised lending and most deposit rates on foreign currencies from September 21. The move is a step in the central bank's plans to liberalise interest rates and prepare banks for competition after the mainland joins the World Trade Organisation, which will bring foreign banks into the tightly protected market. Mr Zeng said the market share would be maintained at 40 per cent in the future, adding that the leading position would be consolidated by business expansion such as the launch of various foreign currency products in the future. In light of imminent admission of China into the world trade body, Mr Zeng said the bank was well prepared for the increasing competition by foreign banks. BOC Shenzhen has had experience competing with foreign banks as overseas banks have been operating for some years, he said. Mr Zeng did not unveil the plans but said training of staff and providing more personal finance services would be part of the bank's plan. BOC Shenzhen has deposits of 24.6 billion yuan (about HK$23 billion) and deposits on foreign currencies of US$1.43 billion.