ANZ aims to more than triple its outlets on the mainland in three years, after having received regulatory approval to be locally incorporated. The fourth largest lender in Australia plans to increase the number of mainland branches and sub-branches to 20 from the current six, joining other international rivals such as HSBC, to profit from the mainland's economic boom. The pace of ANZ's expansion will hinge on approvals by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), but Alex Thursby, the bank's chief executive for Asia-Pacific, Europe and America, is confident that the buoyant Chinese economy will be enough to support the lender's foray into the market. 'We don't want 1,000 outlets,' he told the South China Morning Post yesterday, adding that ANZ would focus on 'specific cities rather than spreading everywhere across the country'. The Melbourne-based lender now has outlets in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It also has received a go-ahead to open a branch in Chongqing. It made an initial investment of 2.5 billion yuan (HK$2.89 billion) on the mainland after the incorporation. 'We have a very clear focus,' Thursby said. 'Our business in the next 12 months will continue to be corporate business.' Local incorporation on the mainland enables a foreign bank to apply for a licence to do businesses in the local currency. Thursby said he expected ANZ to start running yuan businesses next year in what he described as a 'meaningful business' in tandem with the mainland's fast-growing economy. He ruled out acquisitions on the mainland in the near future. ANZ owns a 19.9 per cent stake in the Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and has a 20 per cent stake in the Bank of Tianjin. In 2009, the bank opened a village bank in Lianping county, Chongqing, taking the first step to tap the vast rural market. On the mainland, foreign-funded village banks are separately incorporated legal entities. In March, ANZ completed the acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland's retail and banking assets in Hong Kong. Thursby said the Hong Kong operation was running well. The mainland fully opened its banking sector in 2007, when foreign lenders were allowed to offer a full range of services including providing loans in yuan after local incorporation. But opening branches and sub-branches are still subject to the CBRC's approval. HSBC is ahead of its global rivals with a network of 100 outlets across the mainland. It is eyeing an initial public offering on the coming international board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in which it is likely to raise at least US$5 billion to fund its mainland expansion.