Bank of China targets foreign expansion

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Bank of China is on a march to expand its overseas business and it is London and Frankfurt that are set to benefit.

Tian Guoli, chairman of Bank of China, said during its 2014 results announcement that it views overseas markets as “another major arena for business development” in order to follow in the footsteps of “China’s diplomatic advances”.

Yes, this sounds a little vague, but there’s already evidence that the bank is expanding its international businesses. It increased its overseas headcount (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) from 3,962 employees at the end of 2013, to 4,414 in 2014 – or an 11.4% increase.

London is getting a lot of attention. It currently has around 400 employees there, but has recently set up a new commodities centre and is still growing. London is also likely to benefit from the recent uptick in recruitment for RMB trading, which is still largely in the hands of Chinese banks.

Meanwhile, it’s Frankfurt office is also growing. Currently, it has around 150 people there, but Stefanie Jordan, an HR manager at the bank’s German office, says the plan is to add around 50 jobs throughout 2015.

Hiring is not restricted to large financial centres. Emerging markets are on the radar as well, as China's influence increases in those areas. BoC's 2014 campus recruitment site shows that graduates are needed in ASEAN countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. What's more, there is a special "small languages" scheme, aiming to recruit graduates who can speak languages such as Russian, Polish, Turkish, Hungarian, Vietnamese and Mongolian.

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