LIMA (REUTERS) - China's ICBC, the country's top lender, will start operating in Peru next week as part of a bid to finance local exporters while expanding its operations in South America, the Lima stock exchange said on Wednesday.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of the largest banks in the world in terms of assets, secured a license to operate in Peru last year and will start lending to Peruvian companies - particularly exporters - as of Feb. 6, the exchange said in a statement.
"The entry into Peru strengthens our mandate to develop our business in the Pacific region," Eduardo Patsias, the deputy manager of corporate banking for the bank's Peruvian unit told local media.
ICBC will mainly compete with Canada's Scotiabank and Spain's BBVA Banco Continental, as well as local lenders Interbank and Banco de Credito del Peru.
ICBC, which bought a majority percent stake in the London-based unit of Africa's biggest bank on Wednesday, now operates in some 40 countries.
An increasing number of Chinese firms have been investing in fast-growing Peru in everything from copper mines to anchovy fishing. The local economy expanded by around 5 percent last year.