How ICBC Turkey Thrives as an International Bank and Facilitates Strengthening Sino-Turkish Ties
Through Gao Xiangyang, Chairman of the Board, ICBC Turkey
AAugust 4, 2021 marked the 50e anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between China and Turkey, thus underscoring the lasting strength of relations between the two countries. Spanning South East Europe and West Asia, Turkey has long been a strategically important partner and market for China. Today, through the work of our bank, ICBC Turkey, we envision a valuable opportunity to move this partnership forward into an era of prosperity.
Indeed, the relationship between China and Turkey has never been so vital geopolitically, economically or culturally as it is today. Turkey’s strategy to become a regional transport and energy hub, as well as the integration it has already achieved with neighboring countries, is fully in line with China’s vision for its important initiative. “Belt and Road” (BRI), the global infrastructure development strategy implemented by the Chinese government in 2013 which aims to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations extending from East Asia to Europe.
In 2015, ICBC Turkey was the first Chinese bank to enter the Turkish market, and since then we have been striving to become a known name for Chinese items in Turkey.
In 2015, ICBC Turkey was the first Chinese bank to enter the Turkish market, and since then we have been striving to become a known name for Chinese items in Turkey. And thanks to the exceptionally strong performance that we have managed to record during this period, many Chinese investors and companies have been drawn to the Turkish market to strengthen their physical and financial presence in the country. Today, we are positioning ourselves as a bank not only deeply rooted in the local market but also radiant in neighboring countries. Indeed, we are now transforming into an influential international bank as we continue to expand our presence in Turkey and the surrounding region.
We also seek to make the most of our advantageous geopolitical position as a crucial link between Europe and Asia. In recent years, we have formally pursued a strategy focused on local development, expansion into neighboring regions and the connection between Europe and Asia. We mainly choose to do so by becoming a privileged bank within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative. As a Chinese-owned bank – preferred to support Belt and Road initiatives in terms of stability, innovation and adherence to best practices – we strive to be a model financial institution for financial cooperation Turkey-China and a crucial channel for cultural integration between the two. countries.
ICBC Turkey is firmly focused on increasing our influence in the region where Turkey is the center, growing shareholder value and benefiting all stakeholders. Fortunately, Turkey’s position at the junction of Asia and Europe is ideally suited for the development of projects in transport, infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and logistics, all of which succinctly correspond to the aspirations of the country. China for the BRI.
One of the main drivers of our growth has been the effective use of the global power, know-how and experience of our parent company, the world’s largest bank: the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC ). Having established an important line of communication with ICBC, we have closely followed client appetites and funding needs for investments by conducting transactions harnessing the powerful influence of our parent company’s vast global network. We have also focused on maintaining close cooperation with other ICBC subsidiaries and financial institutions in order to constantly expand our customer base while taking advantage of the group’s vast and unparalleled product diversity.
Again, Turkey’s very critical position as a financial and strategic link between Europe and Asia has helped us a lot in this regard, allowing us to pay close attention to potential business opportunities with at least one link with China. Our investment banking business, for example, is able to effectively deliver the world’s most innovative investment banking solutions to our sovereign, corporate and financial institution clients, thanks to the strong partnerships we have formed. with our sister ICBC units around the world. , including in major financial centers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, not to mention our head office in China. The solutions we offer, often involving the money and capital markets, allow our clients to adequately meet their financing, risk coverage and other financing needs.
Strengthening the Turkey-China relationship is also a key factor underpinning our approach to customer service. This year, for example, our corporate banking division hosted the first ICBC Global Business Matchmaking platform, which provided a venue for introductory meetings between ICBC staff, clients, unions based in Turkey and members of the Turkish Embassy in Beijing. The event provided our customers and banking staff with beneficial and constructive ways to cultivate important relationships with China, creating win-win scenarios for the parties involved and delivering a new business model that minimizes the barriers between countries. The platform will not only improve trade and trade relations with China, but it will also enable Turkish companies of all sizes to better integrate into industrial landscapes and global supply chains. The first stage of the platform took place on March 30 and turned out to be a huge success, with over 250 participants in attendance.
Our corporate banking department will also play a key role in promoting potential businesses to participate in the world’s largest import fair, China International Import Expo (CIIE), to be held in Shanghai in November. The bank has meticulously researched suitable attendees for the Expo, and we will be promoting companies operating in the food and agriculture industries free of charge.
But our commitment to strengthening relations between China and Turkey has not been more clearly demonstrated than it has been since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. During this period, we have sought to increase our support for the Turkish economy and its businesses with more determination than ever. And by functioning as a bridge between China and Turkey, we have paid special attention to sectors that have not only been affected by the pandemic, but could themselves affect this bridge in the aftermath of the pandemic, such as industries. aviation and tourism. Valuable work has also been done to strengthen our ability to access these customers with Chinese elements as well as develop cooperation with municipalities and provide services to major Turkish companies.
One of our most important current goals is to make ICBC Turkey the leading financial institution in Turkey for renminbi (RMB) trading, a goal that we have been addressing over the past two years. The products and services we offer and denominated in RMB have aroused great interest from retail and corporate customers as well as correspondent banks and financial markets. The registration of ICBC Turkey as a Qualified Investor in the Chinese Interbank Bond Market (CIBM) is also an important step in the bank’s mission to develop its RMB business, such as clearing and deposits, beyond traditional capabilities and supports our efforts to develop the RMB. transactions.
Technology is also proving to be of crucial importance in helping to strengthen ties between Turkey and China. At ICBC Turkey, we make extensive use of digital channels to communicate with current and potential clients, maintaining close contact to inform them of potential business opportunities, especially related to China.
We are pleased to report that we have fully implemented the international strategies defined by our head office and built the preferred Chinese-owned pioneer bank of the Belt and Road Initiative. We have conducted our business with a cautious approach and taken concrete steps to enhance financial cooperation between China and Turkey, as a leading figure in cultural integration between not only the two countries, but also those of the whole of the world. Eurasian region and beyond. And in less than six years, ICBC Turkey has grown from a local boutique bank to a major international bank, a bank that has strong growth momentum throughout Turkey and the surrounding region.
The main objective of funding ICBC Turkey projects in the coming years will be to strengthen the economic relations of the two countries by building a permanent bridge between their populations.
Going forward, we remain committed in our commitment to continue our orderly transformation into a fully-fledged international financial institution. We are particularly focused on strengthening trade, economic and cultural ties between China and Turkey. With this in mind, the main objective of funding ICBC Turkey projects in the coming years will be to strengthen the economic relations of the two countries by building a permanent bridge between their populations. This means that we will continue to support Turkey’s development while meeting the continuing needs of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Our credentials as an international bank will also be strengthened thanks to our wide range of investment banking activities. Our top priority in this regard will be to grow our project finance portfolio, including supporting more renewable energy transactions through green sustainability funds and proactively diversifying our operations in the Turkish market. Additionally, we will expand our work to support economic development and well-being in neighboring countries, while continuing to strengthen our investment banking footprint in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We intend to achieve this by stepping up our merger and acquisition (M&A), Initial Public Offerings (IPO), Debt Capital Markets (DCM) activities with a particular focus on bond markets denominated in renminbi, syndicated loans and project finance.
Such activities will further help ICBC Turkey to boost trade volumes between China and Turkey, thus taking economic relations to new all-time highs. And as we will continue to be well supported by ICBC’s vast global network over the next few years, we can expect the ties between China and Turkey, as well as the surrounding geography, to grow stronger than ever before.