Standard Chartered, with a history of nearly 150 years in Shanghai, is to have its own flagship building in Pudong district, joining the likes of Citibank and Bank of China, according to sources. The development is one of several by foreign banks ahead of restrictions being lifted on their mainland operations at the end of the year that are pushing grade A office rents in the city to record levels. A Standard Chartered spokeswoman yesterday said the bank was interested in having its own building, adding: 'We are very committed to the market and hope we can make an announcement soon.' At present, the bank employs more than 1,200 staff in 10 mainland branches, two sub-branches and four representative offices, with six of the branches providing full banking services for corporate customers and foreign-currency services for individuals. The bank set up its first branch in Shanghai in 1858, just five years after being founded in London and a year before the first branch opened in Hong Kong. It is one of a handful of banks to maintain an unbroken presence in the mainland since then. Standard Chartered's mainland headquarters are in the China Merchants Tower in Lujiazui, Shanghai's main financial district. HSBC has a skyscraper named after it in Lujiazui and occupies several floors of the building. Bankers said HSBC had bought another building in Pudong.