Kazakhstan and China are planning to launch an RMB clearance and settlement center in the Astana International Financial Centre by the end of this year, according to the center's governor Kairat Kelimbetov.
Kelimbetov said the AIFC is working closely with Shanghai Stock Exchange to finalize the plans as soon as possible, and get approval from Chinese financial authorities such as the People's Bank of China.
"China is internationalizing the RMB and we hope the AIFC can be a pilot to promote RMB settlement, especially in natural resources sectors," said Kelimbetov.
Established in January, Astana International Financial Centre has attracted 25 companies from around the world to locate their offices there, and five of these are from China.
China Development Bank said last Wednesday that it had opened a representative office in the AIFC, which is CDB's first official institution in Central Asia.
"We look forward to attracting more Chinese companies to AIFC with favorable tax conditions and a good legal environment," said Kelimbetov.
According to Kelimbetov, the next batch of Chinese financial inst i tut ions may include China's top five banks－Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd and Bank of China Ltd, Bank of Communications Ltd. BOC is doing due diligence investigation on setting up an office in the AIFC.
"Besides Chinese financial institutions, we also welcome internet companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and fintech startups," said Kelimbetov, adding that they expect to see 500 companies from China and other nations at the AIFC by 2025.
The governor said AIFC focuses on the capital market, asset management, Islamic finance, fintech, private banking and green finance.
Kelimbetov said developing the AIFC capital market is a major strategic direction whose successful implementation is crucial for the AIFC. So AIFC Exchange, a new high-tech exchange platform based on best international practice, has been created with strategic partners from leading stock exchanges Shanghai Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
AIFC and Silk Road Fund announced last Friday the signing of a memorandum on strategic partnership. According to the document, SRF intends to acquire up to 5 percent of common shares of the AIFC Exchange.
The Silk Road Fund, as a shareholder of the AIFC Exchange, will invest in projects under the Belt and Road Initiative through the AIFC Exchange.