Barclays eyes China's commercial banks

13 March 2008

Barclays Plc has announced intentions to buy into retail and commercial lenders in China.

The bank's president Robert Diamond voiced the firm's interest in venturing into China's retail and commercial banking sector in an interview with the English language newspaper, China Daily.

Until now, Barclay's interest in China has been focused on wholesale and investment banking through its subsidiaries, Barclays Capital and Barclays Global Investors.

But the UK bank has now been lured by favorable conditions in China which have seen existing Chinese businesses experience an annual compound growth rate of 40 per cent in the past five years.

Mr Diamond said that he expects a 15 to 25 per cent increase this year as the bank invests more money into the country.

"I do believe 2008 will see more merger and acquisition opportunities at better prices. And we are still watching for opportunities in retail and commercial banking," he said.

The Barclays boss also commented that Barclays will deepen co-operation in Africa and seek to buy in other markets in the wake of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

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