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Bank’s arrival seen as a pull effect on Chinese investors

Rotterdam develops European Chinese Centre

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM – The Bank of China, the second largest bank in the People’s Republic, is open for business at its first branch in the Netherlands, in premises located on Rotterdam’s Westblaak. For the time being, the bank will focus on managing current accounts and facilitating international payments to and from China. This will make it easier for medium and small-sized businesses operating in the Netherlands to send money to China.

At the bank’s opening reception, Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten welcomed the bank’s arrival in Europe’s largest port. A third of all containers currently passing through Rotterdam originate in China and its numbers are growing steadily. Rotterdam is developing into the logistics hub for Chinese trade with the European hinterland.

The bank’s arrival also is seen as very important to the economic development of Rotterdam, observes the Rotterdam Development Corporation. With institutions such as Bank of China in the port city, it pulls in investors as many Chinese companies prefer to deal with a Chinese bank. The branch reports to the Bank of China Luxembourg.

The Westblaak location is already home to many other Chinese businesses. Bank of China is renting also space from property investment fund Uni Invest, including a cellar room, which previously belonged to Habib Bank.

The City of Rotterdam and the Dutch Chinese Foundation, a partnership of Dutch entrepreneurs, are currently developing a European Chinese Centre, a complex of offices, homes and shops for Dutch-Chinese entrepreneurs. Construction company Volker Wessels is slated to start work at the location in Katendrecht in mid-2008. This Rotterdam district was home to the largest Chinese community in Europe prior to the Second World War.