A giant steps in: Bank of China

bank of china
Bank of China in Romania, a public event (source: profit.ro)

Bank of China officially entered the Romanian market, as a branch of Bank of China Hungary, in December 2019, and marked the moment with a festive ceremony at the Bucharest Palace of the Parliament.

According to data from the Ministry of Finances, the Romanian branch declared no activity in 2019.

What’s Bank of China in Romania supposed to do

The Branch from Bucharest is supposed to develop corporate activities only, to work with big companies only and to finance possible infrastructure projects, should they become effective in the future. For the moment, no such important project was notified.

The ceremony which took place at the Palace of the Parliament has a very relevant role in understanding the relation between the Romanian state and the Chinese one. Therefore, if China had some of the most important guests possible (Liu Liange, the president of the Bank of China’s Board of Directors and Jiang Yu, the Chinese Ambassador in Romania), Romania sent less important officials.

So, the event was attended by Teodor Meleșcanu, the president of the Senate at the time (but with a very fragile political position, that also lead to his resignation from the head of the Parliament’s chamber shortly after), Antonel Tănase, General Secretary of the Government (a close acquaintance of the Prime-Minister Ludovic Orban, but only as his replacement) and Florin Georgescu, Prime-Vice-Governor of the Romanian National Bank (therefore no Mugur Isărescu, the NBR Governor).

The sweet tongue in the ear

The statements were, as expected, filled with superlatives.

“We will direct the Chinese companies to invest in the region and in Romania. The Branch from Bucharest is a new starting point for the Bank of China. It’s the oldest bank in China, operating for 107 years. It has 320,000 employees today, over 11,000 work points, USD 3,200 billion in assets listed, USD 30 billion in net profit.”, said Liu Liange, the president of the Bank of China Board of Directors, according to profit.ro.

Teodor Meleșcanu declared that “Bank of China opening a Branch in Bucharest is a very important moment for Romania and we should be grateful to those who had a big contribution in this important step for a smooth development of the Romanian-Chinese relations”.

Meleșcanu wanted to personally give thanks especially to the Romanian National Bank and to the governor Mugur Isărescu “for the contribution to the cooperation extension and the dialogue with the People’s Republic of China“.

Jiang Yu, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Romania wanted to underline the records: “It is not only the first bank that opens a branch in Bucharest, but also the biggest foreign bank to come to Romania and to break the barrier of financial cooperation between the two countries”. Yu said that China’s development is not a threat for anyone, but a clear cooperation opportunity.

No Isărescu

Florin Georgescu, Prime-Vice-Governor of NBR, sent the Chinese, in the name of Romania’s central bank “warm welcome wishes to Romania on opening the first branch”, then recalled the Romania-Chinese friendship is an old one, ever since the communism period.

”Romania was the third state that on October 3rd, 1949 acknowledged the People’s Republic of China. Until 1990, the Romanian-Chinese relations were regulated by bilateral agreements, that ensured a balance by compensating the receivables.

After 1990, bilateral relations were made under the patronage of the new international environment, a tendency for draw-back. Friendship relations will be developed hereafter through the business environment and the opening of the Bank of China branch is a new step in a fruitful Romanian-Chinese cooperation”.

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