Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd , the world's largest bank by assets, said on Wednesday it has become the first Chinese bank to receive approval from New Zealand's central bank to establish a subsidiary there.
The New Zealand deal is the latest move in a cautious overseas expansion by Chinese banks focused on serving the foreign operations of multinational Chinese firms and Chinese expatriates.
ICBC has operations in 40 countries, the bank said, and the approval allows it to engage in both retail and wholesale banking in New Zealand.
China is New Zealand's largest trading partner with trade totaling 13.8 billion New Zealand dollars ($11.52 billion) in 2012, the bank said. China is also the largest source of foreign students in New Zealand and the second-largest source of tourists.
ICBC is also in talks with South Africa's Standard Bank to purchase a controlling stake in its London-based global markets business.
Early this month China Construction Bank , China's second-largest lender, bought a controlling stake in Brazil's Banco Industrial e Comercial SA