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Rabobank develops ties with giant Chinese AG colleague

Sees opportunities in rural China

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BEIJING - Rabobank, the world’s biggest agricultural lender, is forming a strategic partnership with the huge Agricultural Bank of China (ABC). The partnership includes wholesale banking, rural finance, asset management and leasing, as well as tapping joint business opportunities.

Although ABC, with most of its business in the country’s rural areas, is less profitable than its three state-owned rivals, it is confident that investors will eye its 350 million customers as the central government aims to cut the significant gap between affluent cities and poverty stricken rural areas.

Standard & Poor’s reports that ABC’s rural operations are not profitable yet, but the credit rating agency has “no doubt” that it will eventually become a stable growth engine that can’t be easily matched by competitors.

The agreement between Rabobank and ABC includes a strategic framework of bilateral co-operation based on detailed strategic co-operation agreements that will be concluded at a later stage.

ABC is the last among China’s big four state-owned banks to follow the three-step reform - clean-up of balance sheet, attracting foreign investors and going public. Its rivals, ICBC, the Bank of China and China Construction Bank, are all dual-listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong.