In an effort to capture the lucrative Chinese clientèle in Africa, Standard Bank, South Africa, has opened the world’s first dedicated Africa China Banking Centre (ACBC) at its Simmonds Street offices in Johannesburg.
The Centre will provide a platform linking Africans and African-based Chinese clients with China’s highly networked digital banking and customer knowledge systems.
The Centre is a virtual finance hub for personal and business banking clients. It is staffed by bankers that speak the Chinese language and understand the local cultural enough to provide seamless consultation and advisory services via telephone, online or email.
“The centre represents a critical opportunity to leverage the full potential of Africa and China’s rapidly evolving trade partnership. As an African bank with global reach, Standard Bank is uniquely placed in Africa and, indeed, the world to unlock African opportunity by accessing Chinese capability,” said George Lo, Standard Bank’s head of Africa-China Banking.
“Through this unique hub, we are able to offer African and Chinese clients a business-to-business networking and personal advisory service, helping them to access and unlock the many opportunities in Africa-China trade,” added Lo.
Six dedicated bankers will assist clients with day to day banking needs such as card facilities and transactions, the internet and self-service banking, cross-border payments, and foreign currency services and support.
Earlier in June Standard Bank Namibia also brought in a Chinese speaking business banker to help grow the bank’s portfolio of Chinese clients in the country.
Standard Bank has further plans to develop the capability of the Centre to help African enterprises connect with Chinese products and investment opportunities. End-to-end Renminbi business solutions will also, in time, be provided to expedite and simplify foreign exchange transactions.
Standard Bank’s strategic partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) aims to realise the full potential of deepening Africa-China trade and investment in a unique growth corridor. The development of a dedicated banking centre for Chinese clients in South Africa is one of the tangible practical transactional platforms that cements this relationship.
“With plans for further investment in Africa China Banking Centres in the key African growth hubs of Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana before the end of 2017, Standard Bank’s vision is not just to combine African and Chinese capabilities, but to make the sum of Africa and China bigger than the whole. This is the scale of our challenge, but also the scale of the opportunity that Standard Bank and ICBC are uniquely placed to realise,” said Lo.