Bank of China arrives to Spain for more than just sovereign debt

Bank of China

MADRID | As the daily newspaper El Economista published Friday, China has been intensifying its landing in Spain and has set its sight, among many other things, on the financial sector. A year and a half after the first bank of the Asian giant landed, the Bank of China, which ranks the third, has set its first step in Spain. The entity has obtained the authorisation to operate through its division established in Luxemburg. This step is the same one given by Industrial Commercial Bank (ICBC) in 2010 before it opened its first branch in Madrid.

The Bank of China, just like its competitor, was not only attracted by the Spanish debt, of which they are great buyers, but also by the ever growing business relationship between our country and Asia. Spain was one of the few European markets in which the Chinese group was not present. It has activities in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy among others.


The entity, which is the oldest of the Asian giant, is 70% controlled by the State and is considered as the first Chinese lender in the individual customer segment. It is publicly traded and its market capitalisation exceeds €100,000 million.

Among its shareholders stands out the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) with 4% although this participation was reduced to half due to the British bank’s economic problems and its nationalisation and is being publicly auctioned just like the rest of its business in Asia.

The Bank of China’s main activity is treasury, corporate banking and great estate management. Its arrival in Spain will serve the purpose of promoting business and bilateral relations and fostering greater investment in Spain, not only in the acquisition of bonds and Treasury bills.


Bank of China’s arrival has been deemed as an important step in Spain’s progress in recovering international trust. Over a year ago, its compatriot’s landing was remarkable. It opened a branch in the centre of Madrid and has invested, since its arrival, at least €200 million.

ICBC’s assets in our country amount to approximately €400 million and it is expected that during this financial year it may obtain profits from investments it has made. It intends to extend its office network. Savings banks, through their national association SCSB, have taken advantage of this Chinese bank’s presence to establish a collaboration agreement.

About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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