Lord Mayor Charles Bowman's speech at opening of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank's London branch
Chairman Gao, Minister Mark Field, Your Excellency Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, Ladies and Gentlemen.
As the 690th Lord Mayor of the City of London, I am a key spokesperson and principal ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services.
And may I say how delighted I am to celebrate the branch opening of the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in London – the bank’s first branch outside of Asia.
Opening a bank branch is never an easy task. I would like to say huge congratulations to Chairman Gao, Madam Chen Xin and the bank’s London team for working incredibly hard to achieve this remarkable milestone.
I have also heard that your London team has been praised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (the PRA) at the Bank of England for all their hard work in setting up this branch.
In my capacity as Lord Mayor, let me warmly welcome you to London and to the City: home to more than 250 foreign banks and nearly 40 large Chinese financial institutions and investors.
I must say, Chairman Gao, you have made an excellent choice in picking London as the destination for your first branch outside of Asia.
No other city can provide such a unique cluster, ecosystem or environment for business success.
Here we have access to the world’s deepest liquidity pools; the biggest investor base; the best talent from around the world; our rule of law, language, time-zone; and a financial ecosystem that includes all the major global players.
There are more head offices of banks here than in any other city in the world.
London is also the largest offshore Renminbi centre, and conducts the most foreign exchange transactions in Renminbi outside of Greater China.
There is huge capacity for Chinese financial institutions – like Shanghai Pudong Development Bank – to expand internationally. London can provide the platform to accelerate this growth.
I am delighted to see more and more Chinese financial institutions expanding their global presence via London.
In turn, you will help this great city to continue to thrive as a global financial centre – and help London to better interact with markets in China.
2018 has truly begun on a high note for Sino-British relations.
Last month, in the Guildhall we played host to the China–UK Economic and Trade Forum, organised by the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
Last week, we saw Prime Minister Theresa May make her first official visit to China, affirming the “Golden Era” of UK-China relations, and further strengthening our trade and economic ties.
And today, we are here to celebrate the London branch opening of one of China’s finest banks, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, whom we were pleased to welcome as a corporate partner of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal earlier this year.
The Golden Era is set to continue.
In March, I will be heading to China, leading a senior City business delegation to promote London and the City’s offering on the Belt and Road Initiative, Green Finance, RMB Internationalisation, and Fintech.
We will be looking to develop old partnerships, and forge some new ones.
I will travel to Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.
In Shanghai, the City Corporation will renew its Memorandum of Understanding with the Shanghai Government, originally signed in 2008.
This was the first MoU that the City Corporation signed with an Asian city, and it remains our only one in China.
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, as one of the most important financial institutions from Shanghai, is well-placed to act as a bridge between our two great cities. Its presence here in London is certain to lead to even closer economic and trade cooperation in the years to come.
As we prepare to leave the European Union, the City is at a unique juncture.
We have an opportunity to shape the future of the financial and professional services sector.
Brexit has prompted us to look at our role and competitive positioning. We have the potential to consider our trade and investment with the rest of the world, including China.
Today’s event symbolises the growing partnership between China and the UK.
It also symbolises the continued commitment of Chinese banks to London, for which we are very grateful.
Thank you for choosing London, and we look forward to continuing to work with you, to further connect the two markets.
I wish you all a prosperous Year of the Dog.
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank:
Thank you – 谢谢！