There was a time that, when one said the name “Standard Bank” in Asia, people thought of another bank with a similar name that is also strong in that part of the world.
That’s quickly changing. Now, at the mention of “Standard Bank”, people say: “Oh Standard Bank, the African Bank”.
Standard Bank has a clear plan in mind for doing business in China. We want to move from being a trading bank, which is really what we have done before, to a full-service Asian investment bank.
We have found that infrastructure finance has proved our most popular offering in China. A big surprise to us was the need for assistance with project finance, large Chinese contractors want to win tenders in Africa and they need assistance and advice on how to do that.
Over the past few years, China has provided billions of dollars to African infrastructure projects in what many have called an exchange for natural resources rights. China is looking to refresh the infrastructure of Africa with the long-term view that, with good infrastructure, economies will be able to prosper and create a new market for Chinese goods.
Of course, with so many Chinese companies bidding in tenders for those projects, the support is not completely selfless.
While project finance stands out for Standard Bank in China, our core business is still trade.