Russia’s largest private bank plans China expansion 

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Russia’s largest private lender Alfa-Bank is set to open offices in China, the bank revealed on Monday.   

Alfa-Bank’s board of directors has announced plans to open two offices in Beijing and Shanghai and will soon submit the required registration documents to the People’s Bank of China.   

According to the announcement, Alfa-Bank plans to become the first private Russian bank to open fully-fledged branches in two key cities in China at once, as it views expansion in the Asian powerhouse as “strategically important.”

Since the beginning of the year, Alfa-Bank has emerged as the top lender in Chinese yuan on the Russian market, accounting for a third of all yuan loans in the country.   

“This year we launched a service for importers and exporters working with China and simplified customs clearance. We also held a large-scale forum for car dealers with a focus on China and offered profitable options for purchasing yuan ‘for tomorrow’ and we did everything to make it comfortable for our clients to work with partners from China. The opening of our branches is a logical step forward in our strategy. We are confident that this will help Russian clients to do business with China even more efficiently,” the head of Alfa-Bank’s large and medium-sized business department, Vladimir Voeykov, said in a statement.   

The move reflects growing economic ties between Russia and China. The process has accelerated in the face of growing tensions between Moscow and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and multiple waves of economic sanctions against Russia.

The restrictions prompted Russia to reorient itself away from Western markets toward the East. As of the end of 2022, according to data from Chinese customs, Russia had become the top European country in terms of exports to China, fourth in terms of imports, and second in trade turnover.

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