IN a move likely to set a trend, the Bank of China (BoC) group has applied to the banking authorities to move its headquarters from Beijing to Shanghai. If approved, the shift will be a fillip for Shanghai's continuing bid to become the country's premier financial centre. BoC, China's foreign exchange bank and one of the four specialised banks to go commercial, had previously denied it had any intention of shifting its base. But the semi-official China News Agency said yesterday the group had formally submitted an application for the move. The report said the proposed move was prompted by the geographical inconvenience of dealing in the national foreign exchange centre in Shanghai through its Beijing headquarters. Except for the Bank of Communications, the other specialised banks in the process of becoming commercial banks have their headquarters in Beijing. The other banks based in Beijing are the Industrial and Commercial Bank, the People's Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank.