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NBK is first GCC bank to open branch in China

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Kuwait’s bank carries on international expansion policy, aiming to strengthen its position: Al Sager

Photo from the opening ceremony of NBK’s new branch in China

Bank of Kuwait opened its new branch in People’s Republic of China, holding a ceremony at Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai attended by the Kuwaiti Ambassador Samih Jawhar Hayat and the bank’s top executives, led by Isam Jasem Al Sager, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer and Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar, NBK Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer. NBK has previously set up a representative office in Shanghai in 2005.

The bank’s activities were limited to non-operational activities such as client referral, information gathering, and market research. Since then, NBK decided to expand its presence in China through transforming its representative office into a branch, becoming the first GCC bank to launch a fully-fl edged branch in China. This step positions NBK to seize expansion opportunities and to reinforce mutual investment cooperation between the MENA region and China.

The Kuwaiti Ambassador Samih Jawhar Hayat highlighted the importance of Kuwait-China long-standing diplomatic relationship since the 70s, the importance of encouraging private sector investments and trade between the 2 countries, and the support and excitement on “the one belt one road” vision of China. He also mentioned that Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has a signifi- cant presence in China, and that Shanghai is the main hub for business in Asia. The Kuwaiti Ambassador appraised the strength and history of NBK, and the importance of the opening of a branch in China, He thanked also the Chinese and Shanghai authorities. He ended his speech by wishing good luck and expressing his full support and help for the Bank.

Isam Jasem Al Sager, NBK Group Chief Executive Officer said: “NBK carries on its regional and international expansion policy, aiming to strengthen its position in the local and international banking arena. Moreover, opening a branch for NBK in China adds a new milestone in the bank’s series of expansions”. He also noted that NBK will continue during the upcoming period to focus on strengthening its position in the GCC markets, as well as Egypt, due to the promising growth opportunities that those markets refl ect. Al Sager pointed out that NBK has become a leading regional group, with over USD79 billion in assets.

Launching a new branch in China establishes NBK’s presence in the Chinese banking market, in which the bank has been present through its representative office since 2005, thus becoming the first GCC bank to open a fully-fledged branch in China. NBK’s presence in China aims to fulfill the needs of a growing customers’ base, reflecting NBK’s prestigious position and the strength of its brand name which represents quality, trust, and safety. Al Sager highlighted that China is the largest trading partner of the MENA region among the Asian countries at present. As business ties between China and the MENA countries are expanding, trade and commercial activities between China and MENA are growing in tandem, making China a strategic market for NBK to set up a branch presence. Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar, NBK Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer Said” Today marks a milestone for NBK. The vision that we had is being realized in a country that embodies culture, civilization, dignity, might, perseverance, knowledge and technology in a history that traces back to thousands of years.” Al Bahar Added” opportunities in China are boundless, and we are confident of our ability to handle all financial and banking requirements of our customers in Kuwait and China.

Around 20 Chinese construction companies operate in Kuwait. Our own new headquarters is being constructed by a Chinese company. The growth in business volumes necessitates full-fledged operation than just a representative office. Our solid banking and financial dealings combined with an impeccable reputation and track record landed us in China, where the highest standards of professionalism are required”.

NBK has a wide local and international network of branches across 4 continents, with its international presence extending to cover many of the world’s leading financial centers including, New York, London, Paris, Singapore and Shanghai. NBK also has a wide regional network covering Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. On the credit rating front, NBK continues to maintain the highest ratings amongst its peers in the Middle East, unanimously by the top credit ratings agencies; namely Moody’s, Fitch and S&P. NBK ratings are supported by its strong capitalization, prudent lending policies and its disciplined approach to risk management and sound credit risk policies, in addition to the expertize and stability of its management team. Moreover, NBK maintained its listing in The World’s 50 Safest Banks list for the 11th consecutive time and was awarded as the “Best Bank” in Kuwait in 2016 by the Banker, Euro-money and Global Finance

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