UOB signs two MOUs, giving Chinese firms more access to SEA

Mr Wee Ee Cheong (left) and Mr Jiang Zengwei at the signing of the agreement with the CCOIC. Companies represented by the association will be able to access UOB's local and cross-border banking services and its network of South-east Asian partners
Mr Wee Ee Cheong (left) and Mr Jiang Zengwei at the signing of the agreement with the CCOIC. Companies represented by the association will be able to access UOB's local and cross-border banking services and its network of South-east Asian partnersPHOTO: UOB

Local lender United Overseas Bank has signed two agreements to help Chinese companies expand into South-east Asia through China's Belt and Road initiative.

One memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with China's national business association, the Chinese Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC).

Companies represented by the CCOIC will be able to access UOB's local and cross-border banking services and its network of South-east Asian partners.

This agreement is an extension of UOB's partnership with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

Mr Jiang Zengwei, chairman of both CCPIT and CCOIC, said: "We believe that the MOU is instrumental in our support of companies across sectors as they seize business opportunities arising from the continued progress of the Belt and Road initiative."

UOB said in a statement that it is the first and only South-east Asian bank to sign MOUs with both of these Chinese commercial institutions.

The other agreement is with the Qingjian Group, the largest construction conglomerate in Shangdong province.

UOB will offer the firm financial solutions such as project financing and capital markets advisory services.

They will explore deeper collaboration in cash management, cross-border trade and investment.

UOB aims to use its links with Qingjian to work with other Shandong-based companies seeking expansion into South-east Asia.

Both agreements were signed on Sunday in Qingdao, Shandong.

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and chief executive of UOB, said: "China and South-east Asia form one of the main trade and investment corridors of the Belt and Road initiative.

"UOB, with deep roots and wide reach in South-east Asia, is well placed to help Chinese companies understand the opportunities in local markets, develop their entry strategies and navigate the complexities of doing business in the region."

The lender said it has facilitated business flows of more than $43 billion from Chinese companies in the region since 2011, with most of these funds passing through Singapore before being reinvested in other South-east Asian markets.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'UOB signs two MOUs, giving Chinese firms more access to SEA'. Print Edition | Subscribe