China has given the go-ahead for Xiamen International Bank to conduct foreign-currency business with domestic clients, making it the first foreign-invested lender to gain such approval. A bank spokesman said: 'We are the first foreign-funded financial institution and first joint-venture bank to gain approval.' Set up in 1985, Xiamen International is the mainland's first Sino-foreign joint-venture bank. It is 75 per cent owned by mainland parties, mainly Fujian government firms. Foreign investors include the Asian Development Bank and Japan's Shinsei Bank, which each hold a 10 per cent stake. The remaining 5 per cent is held by US-backed Sino Finance Group. The bank spokesman yesterday gave no details about its foreign-currency business, but said the bank had fulfilled the conditions set by the central bank, including the 400 million yuan (about HK$378 million) capital requirement for headquarter banks to operate foreign-currency business with mainland clients.