Kasikornbank (KBank) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong-based The Bank of East Asia (BEA) to enhance collaboration in trade and investment with a view to strengthening the business sectors of Thailand and Hong Kong, the Thai bank said in a statement on Tuesday.
Hong Kong serves as a conduit between mainland China and the countries participating in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and is therefore expected to play an important role in stimulating economic growth in the region in the future, said Banthoon Lamsam, chairman of KBank.
According to the Bank of Thailand, Hong Kong has ranked fourth in net foreign direct investment into the Kingdom, with an average of US$700 million (Bt22.46 billion) per annum for the past five years.
Placing high importance on business connectivity between Hong Kong and Asean member states, BEA and KBank have enhanced collaboration to encourage greater direct investment from the Special Administrative Region into Thailand, the statement said.
Moreover, the formal signing of the Asean-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement in 2017 has strengthened trade relations between Asean and Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is the eighth-largest trading partner of Thailand. According to the International Trade Promotion Department, bilateral trade last year amounted to $15.22 billion, a 16.5-per-cent increase over the previous year.
In 2017, Thai exports to Hong Kong grew 7.3 per cent to $12.31 billion, while Thai imports from Hong Kong expanded 82 per cent to $2.91 billion.
According to Kasikorn Research Centre, 1.4 million people travelled between the Kingdom and Hong Kong last year.
To capitalise on economic growth and in view of the close trade relations between Thailand and Hong Kong, KBank and BEA have entered into an agreement to forge bilateral cooperation that is aimed at innovating financial products and services, and promoting trade finance facilities, which will fortify the business sector and strengthen the relationship shared by the two banks, the statement said.
Last December, the China Banking Regulatory Commission granted a licence to KBank to establish a locally incorporated institution (LII) in China.
With LII headquarters in Shenzhen and a service network including branches in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong and representative offices in Beijing and Kunming, KBank is able to offer comprehensive services to corporate customers, paving the way for greater business opportunities for both corporate and individual clients, including Thai nationals in Hong Kong and Hong Kong customers, the statement added.