Absa opens Beijing office to unlock trade, investment opportunities, show confidence in China market

China South Africa Photo:VCG

China South Africa Photo:VCG

South Africa’s Absa Group, a leading pan-African bank, announced on Wednesday the official launch of its new non-banking subsidiary in Beijing. The ambitious move aims to unlock more trade and investment opportunities between China and Africa.

The new office will enable the Johannesburg-based company to offer local support to Chinese clients and stakeholders to conclude transactions across the African continent, helping to support clients’ needs, according to a statement issued by the Absa Group in January.

This business expansion demonstrates Absa’s emphasis on and robust confidence in China’s market. It also reflects China’s persistent endeavors to foster growing economic ties with the rising Global South, experts said.

Amid the evolving global economic landscape, cooperation between the two sides has progressed from basic energy and infrastructure projects to financial collaboration, which are more pivotal and forward-looking areas, and this is likely to deepen bilateral ties in the real economy sector, Yang Baorong, director of African Studies of the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The new office in Beijing will allow Absa to provide general advisory services to clients based in China, according to a statement. The lender will also be able to distribute some research about the macroeconomic environment and securities reports to some institutional clients in China, Bloomberg reported.

The move will help the bank become a “facilitator of trade flows into Africa”, Absa said in its latest financial report, published in early March, according to media reports. 

“Our expansion into this dynamic market represents an exciting opportunity to unlock new avenues of growth and prosperity for Africa and China,” said Arrie Rautenbach, the CEO of Absa Group, at a ceremony earlier this year, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

In recent years, investment cooperation between the two sides has steadily grown, with annual manufacturing direct investment exceeding $400 million and infrastructure construction cooperation exceeding $37 billion, supporting Africa’s industrialization and economic diversification, said He Yadong, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce, at a regular press conference on April 11.

The cooperation has boosted China-South Africa ties under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, this initiative has significantly improved economic development and livelihoods in Africa. 

“Removing constraints on financial flows is crucial for deepening the bilateral ties,” Song Wei, a professor with the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The launch of the subsidiary signifies Africa’s financial institutions’ participation in China-African financial cooperation, which is expected to bolster mutual benefits in settlement and investment, Song added.