Economic Watch: ROK banker expects to unlock new opportunities in China

Updated: June 26, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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TIANJIN, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Kim Won Seob, a banker from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and president of the Industrial Bank of Korea (China) Ltd., has been lately occupied with the bank's 2023 business expansion plan in China.

"China's economy is picking up faster than many expected. We have made a very positive business plan to seize the opportunity to expand our business," said Kim, who is based in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

In China, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) operates eight branches and eight sub-branches under IBK China Ltd. as of March 31, 2022.

Kim first moved to Tianjin in 2008 and has worked in this coastal city ever since. During his time, he witnessed the development of IBK China Ltd. which was established in 2009 in Tianjin.

"As China continues to open up, we have also accelerated the pace of localization and transformation," Kim said.

Amid the growing vitality of China's private economy, the bank's main target customers have shifted from Korean-funded enterprises to Chinese-funded small and micro enterprises.

According to Kim, China boasts a very large market and it is full of business opportunities. "The further upgrading of China's industrial structure has indicated the direction of medium and long-term development for us."

In order to expand the business, IBK China Ltd. has innovated its financial products, particularly providing high-tech, green and low-carbon enterprises with high-quality financial services, like interest concessions and fee reductions.

"We are optimistic about the prospects of green finance in China. At the same time, we are also committed to supporting China in achieving its 'dual carbon' goal by increasing green credit investment," Kim said.

Over the years, the Chinese government has continued to improve the business environment, making it more conducive to Korean-invested enterprises in China.

Since the China-ROK free trade agreement came into effect on Dec. 20, 2015, Tianjin Customs has issued a total of 106,000 certificates of origin under the agreement, helping relevant enterprises benefit from the tariff reduction worth about 1.3 billion yuan (about 181 million U.S. dollars).

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, China and the ROK have enjoyed robust trade and economic cooperation. Bilateral trade has surged to more than 360 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 from over 5 billion U.S. dollars in 1992, with the two countries becoming major trading partners.

Meanwhile, the cumulative two-way investment between the two countries has exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars.

"China's vast market has given us the confidence for further reform and transformation," said Kim, adding that IBK China Ltd. will continue to engage in China's high-quality economic development.

Editor: Su Dan