Bank of Beijing is to open a branch in nearby Tianjin by the end of the year as the first step in an expansion strategy that it hopes will see it go nationwide, the South China Morning Post reported. It will become only the second of China's 113 city commercial banks to be permitted to offer services beyond its home market, following the state approval of Bank of Shanghai's plans for branches in Ningbo. Bank of Beijing, in which Dutch financial services company ING Group has a 19.9% stake and the International Finance Corp a 5% stake, said the next phase of its expansion would see it move into the Pearl and Yangtze river delta regions, although further regulatory approval will be required for this. The bank hopes to launch an initial public offering in the second half of 2007.
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