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Citi Commercial Bank to Help Expansion of Chinese Companies

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EDITOR NOTE: CNBC reports that Singapore is a key market for Chinese companies looking to expand throughout Asia and around the globe. With China tightening its grip on Hong Kong in recent years, Singapore is where emerging companies can set up shop in order to gain more global reach. Now, Citi is going to help these companies do it. The New York-based bank’s commercial banking unit has set up a China desk in Singapore to help Chinese companies grow. This comes at a time where Citi is pulling retail banking operations out of many regions of the world.

SINGAPORE — Citi’s commercial banking unit has set up a China desk in Singapore dedicated to helping “emerging” Chinese companies expand into the city-state and Southeast Asia, the bank told CNBC.

Citi Commercial Bank serves growing mid-sized companies with annual revenues of up to $1 billion. Many such companies from China have set their eyes on expanding overseas — even as their large home market offers plenty of growth opportunities.

And Singapore, a business and financial center in Southeast Asia, has emerged as a favored destination among Chinese companies of various sizes. Major Chinese firms that have expanded to Singapore include tech giant Tencent, TikTok-owner ByteDance and video-streaming platform iQiyi.

“Singapore and the broader ASEAN region are key markets for growth for expanding Chinese emerging corporates. A majority of these clients set up holding companies in Singapore for their ASEAN units,” said Lin Hsiu-Yi, ASEAN and Singapore head at Citi Commercial Bank.

ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an economic bloc comprising 10 countries in the region including Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The new China desk is headed by Mona Zhang, a banker who previously focused on mid-sized companies at Citi Commercial Bank’s office in China. Citi Commercial Bank’s other China-focused desks are in Hong Kong and India.

Singapore’s appeal

Singapore has for years attracted global companies looking for a base to conduct business in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to Chinese companies, businesses that have recently announced expansion plans in Singapore include U.S. semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries and German biotechnology firm BioNTech.

Over the last few years, U.S.-China tensions and Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong — also a major business and financial hub — added to Singapore’s appeal as a stable location to do business.

Originally posted on CNBC

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