First Abu Dhabi Bank aims to triple China business by 2026

FAB China business revenue grew by 50% in 2023


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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The headquarters of First Abu Dhabi Bank. — File photo
The headquarters of First Abu Dhabi Bank. — File photo

Published: Wed 28 Feb 2024, 8:27 PM

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is steadily solidifying its role as the go-to bank for UAE-Chinese and Sino-Mena trade and investment, with plans to triple revenue from its China business by 2026. The Group, which maintains the only fully licenced branch of a UAE bank in mainland China and grew its business there by 50 per cent in 2023, was also singled out by the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, Zhang Yiming, recently for its ‘vote of confidence in the Chinese economy.’

FAB’s plans mirror the UAE’s deepening relationship with the Asian economic giant: China is the UAE’s top global trade partner, with bilateral trade expected to reach $200 billion annually by 2030. It is also the third largest foreign investor in the UAE, and the GCC’s top-ranking nation in trade flows. The UAE, a comprehensive strategic partner of China, is home to more than 6,000 Chinese businesses and was recently added to the expanded Brics trade bloc.

The synergy between the two markets – with China offering the technological and industrial prowess critical to Mena growth and the GCC offering substantial investment as well as access to key markets including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – also plays to the Group’s strengths.

FAB Group CEO Hana Al Rostamani said: “China continues to be a priority for First Abu Dhabi Bank, and we are committed to expand our business there while fostering Chinese engagement in the GCC and Egypt. As the UAE’s largest bank and a regional financial powerhouse, we look forward to facilitating more vital corridor trade and investment between the two regions and using our experience, expertise and network to drive transformative growth and development for both markets.”

The Group has grown from strength to strength in China – from being the first foreign bank to obtain a Chinese currency (RMB) licence from day one of its operations to becoming an official strategic partner for leading state corporates and delivering multiple success stories for Chinese clients seeking trade finance, corporate finance and access to global markets. Building on these foundations, the Group is targeting Dh300 million in annual revenue from its China operations by 2026.

Yiming said: “FAB’s Shanghai Branch opened during the epidemic in 2022 and cast a vote of confidence in the Chinese economy with its practical actions. We hope that FAB, as the largest bank in the UAE, will give full play to its local full-license advantage and strengthen cooperation with China in helping Chinese enterprises to go overseas and settle in the UAE, broaden investment channels in China, and promote the internationalisation of the RMB.”

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