Bank of China expects to stay on top

DESPITE a move to expand overseas by China's four specialist banks, the Bank of China (BOC) is confident that it will continue to play a dominant role in foreign trade in the next decade.

In a seminar called Finance and Enterprise Transnational Management, Liu Jinbao, president of BOC, People's Construction Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, said the move would lead to fierce competition among them.

With its foundation of more than 80 years, and its expertise on foreign trade, he said BOC could still play a dominant role in multinational banking activities over the next 10 years.

The two-day seminar began yesterday in Shanghai, and was co-hosted by the BOC's Shanghai branch and the East China International Finance Institute.

Various topics on the management of multinational finance institutes and enterprises were discussed.

'Development of the multinational activities of the bank will facilitate the state enterprises to spring abroad to broaden their overseas trade,' Mr Liu said.

'Though there is an important role for the bank to play in smoothing the way for state enterprises, the banking system is suffering from the problem of running out of expertise,' he said.

Mr Liu was echoed by Xu Kuangdi, the vice-mayor of Shanghai, who expressed concern over the backward management of state-owned enterprises, which was handicapping their growth.

'The point is, the enterprises have not been able to break away from the tides of administrative control,' Mr Xu said.