KARACHI: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) , the world’s biggest bank by market value, will open two branches in Pakistan this week, the central bank said on Tuesday.
The deal to start ICBC operations in Pakistan was reached in December during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, when the two sides signed deals in areas of trade, health, education, agriculture, energy and infrastructure.
“The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has declared ICBC as a scheduled bank with effect from August 18 and initially it will operate two branches in Pakistan,” said SBP chief spokesman, Syed Wasimuddin.
“One of the branches will be in Karachi and another in Islamabad,” he said.
“As per our rules, ICBC will start operation with an assigned capital of Rs3 billion ($34.64 million), deposited with the central bank in dollars equivalent,” said Wasimuddin.
China is also a major investor in Pakistan in areas such as telecommunications, ports and infrastructure. The countries are linked by a Chinese-built road pushed through Pakistan’s northern mountains.
Trade with China is worth almost $9 billion a year for Pakistan, and China is its top arms supplier.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.