BANGKOK–(THAI BUSINESS NEWS)–12 Jun. 2018
KASIKORNBANK (KBank) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Bank of East Asia (BEA) to enhance collaboration in trade and investment to strengthen the business sectors of Thailand and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong).
Mr. Banthoon Lamsam, Chairman of the Board of KBank, said Hong Kong serves as a conduit between Mainland China and the countries participating in the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and thus is expected to play an important role in stimulating economic growth in the region in the future. China’s “going out” strategy also encourages Chinese investors to explore opportunities internationally. According to Bank of Thailand, Hong Kong has ranked fourth in the net foreign direct investment, with an average of US$700 million per annum for the past five years. Placing high importance on business connectivity between Hong Kong and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), BEA and KBank have enhanced collaboration to encourage greater direct investment from Hong Kong into Thailand. Moreover, the formal signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) in 2017 has strengthened trade relations between ASEAN and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is the eighth largest trading partner of Thailand. According to the Department of International Trade Promotion, total trade in 2017 amounted to USD15.22 billion, a 16.5 percent increase over the previous year. In 2017, Thai exports to Hong Kong grew 7.3 percent year on year, to USD12.31 billion, while Thai imports from Hong Kong grew 82 percent year on year, to USD 2.91 billion. According to KASIKORN RESEARCH, a total of 1.4 million people traveled between the two countries in 2017.
To capitalize on economic growth and in view of the close trade relations between Thailand and Hong Kong, KBank and BEA have entered into an agreement to forge bilateral cooperation that is aimed at innovating financial products and services, and promoting trade finance facilities, which will fortify the business sector and strengthen the relationship shared by the two banks.
In December 2017, the China Banking Regulatory Commission granted a license to KBank to establish a locally incorporated institution (LII) in China. With LII headquarters in Shenzhen and a service network including branches in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong and representative offices in Beijing and Kunming, KBank is able to offer comprehensive services to corporate customers, paving the way for greater business opportunities for both corporate and individual clients, including Thai nationals in Hong Kongand Hong Kong customers. The collaboration between KBank and BEA – a leading bank in Hong Kong – is expected to bring new business opportunities for the clients of both institutions, while strengthening business relations between Thailand and Hong Kong, as well as the rest of Greater China.
Endeavoring to enhance business connectivity between Hong Kong and ASEAN members, the two banks have agreed to promote direct investment from Hong Kong to Thailand, according to Dr. David K.P. Li, Chairman & Chief Executive at BEA.
Incorporated in 1918, BEA is a leading Hong Kong financial services group, serving the needs of customers in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and beyond. As of December 31, 2017, total consolidated assets of BEA amounted to US$103.5 billion. The Bank is listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and is a constituent stock of the Hang Seng Index.