Union Bank of India (UBI) has applied for permission to Chinese government to upgrade its representative office in Shanghai to a full-fledged branch, sources said.

Currently, UBI has its representative offices in Shanghai and Beijing and permission has been sought to upgrade Shanghai office into full-fledged branch.

UBI opened Shanghai office in 2007 and is looking to convert it into branch as it has already completed the two year mandatory period required to open a branch in China, UBI sources said.

UBI is the latest among India-government owned banks looking to cash in on the burgeoning India-China bilateral trade.

A host of Indian banks have representative offices in various cities of China. State Bank of India, (SBI) and Canara Bank have already upgraded their representative offices into branches in Shanghai. Bank of India has opened branch in Shenzhen while Bank of Baroda has a branch in Guangzhou.

SBI this month will be opening its second branch in the port city of Tianjin about 140 km from Beijing.

There is clamour among the Indian banks to expand their network in China to take advantage of the growing trade which touched $74.9 billion in 2011. The figure stood at $66.47 billion last year.

Official sources say Indian banks are looking to cash in on the opportunity in China mainly through trade finance.

(This article was published on February 3, 2013)
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