SBI to set up special China desk to attract Chinese investors

The State Bank of India (SBI) for the first time launched a dedicated “China desk” for potential investors, underlining the growing importance of the world’s second largest economy as the Narendra Modi government looks to push its “Make in India” initiative.

Bank officials told India Today this will be the first ever China dedicated desk at any Indian bank, and will follow a Japan desk that was set up in New Delhi by the bank last month.

SBI to open first China desk

The China desk will operate out of Shanghai, where SBI opened the first Indian bank branch on the Chinese mainland in 2006. The bank also has a branch in Tianjin in the north.

“The China desk will coordinate with SBI India and provide handholding and financial advisory services for Chinese investors,” said K Swaminathan, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer (Designate) in China.

The Shanghai-based desk will be handled by Chinese banking executives, Swaminathan said, and will be led by Jean Liu, a banking executive who worked earlier for several Chinese and foreign investment banks in China.

The launch of the desk comes at a time when India is courting Chinese investment to push the “Make in India” initiative and for a number of infrastructure projects, including industrial parks for automobiles, power, solar projects and real estate developments.

While there is increased interest among Chinese companies on account of both the slowdown in China and the renewed emphasis in New Delhi on seeking investment from China, officials in both countries acknowledge that translating the interest into on-the-ground investments has proved difficult.

The bank hopes to bridge that gap, SBI officials said, and will offer for Chinese investors, in Shanghai and elsewhere, handholding services, and, through the bank’s investment banking subsidiary SBI Capital Markets, assistance on company formation in India, joint ventures, funding tie-ups and debt raising.

SBI to open first China desk