QIIB and QNB Capital have joined hands with Southwest Securities (SWSC) to promote Islamic financing and investments in China.
Chinese brokerage Southwest Securities is based in Chongqing, one of the five “listed central cities” in China. Southwest Securities is also Chongqing’s first listed financial institution.
The agreement was signed yesterday in Doha on the sidelines of an event held to formally open the Middle East’s first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan. QIIB chief executive officer Abdulbasit A al-Shaibei told Gulf Times yesterday the “partnership would help create a framework for Islamic financing” in China.
Besides helping Southwest Securities to access investor markets in Qatar and the Middle East, the agreement also aims to open the Chinese market for both QIIB and QNB Capital.
“We are looking to access the Chinese market for financing and investments, either directly or indirectly,” al-Shaibei said.
He said the agreement was the first one of its kind in both China and Qatar.
Al-Shaibei said there was a “clear appetite” for Islamic financial instruments in China. “Chongqing is among the five top Chinese cities and they are looking to promote Islamic banking not just in the other provinces in China, but beyond their borders to surrounding Asian countries,” he said.
Al-Shaibei said an agreement between the two countries called for Qatari banks’ presence in China.
“As HE the QCB Governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saud al-Thani mentioned today (Tuesday), the agreement encouraged Qatari banks to have a presence in China.”
He said it was part of “QIIB’s vision to invest in China”.
“We have clearly seen from the Chinese side an interest for Islamic instruments. China is a huge economy and their neighbouring countries in Asia have a huge population of Muslims. Clearly, there are prospects for developing Islamic financing in China and the surrounding countries,” he said.
“Through this agreement, QIIB and QNB Capital will work together with SWSC to reach the targeted goals and support Chongqing in the development of its economic blueprint to develop Islamic financial instruments,” al-Shaibei said.
The agreement, the QIIB chief executive officer said, was “open and not time-bound.”
A Reuters dispatch said currently there was very little Islamic finance activity in China, but the country’s population of Muslims was estimated at more than 20mn. The agency said some bankers saw room for the Islamic finance industry to develop in China.
China’s AVIC Capital Co said in late December that its unit AVIC Securities had signed an agreement to advise the government of the country’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which has a large population of Muslims, on the global issue of up to $1.5bn worth of instruments such as Islamic bonds and US dollar bonds, with maturities of up to five years. Since then, no concrete progress towards an issue has been announced.
(Gulf Times / 14 April 2015)
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