China is considering plans for a regional bank to help small- and medium-sized enterprises invest in ASEAN countries and southwestern China, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources. The proposal, subject to approval by the State Council, would invite members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan and South Korea to acquire stakes in the bank. China will likely be the largest stakeholder with a starting investment of RMB30 billion (US$4.7 billion). One source called the bank a miniature version of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, which has 67 member countries, and the US and Japan as its largest financial backers. The proposal is intended to buy China goodwill in Southeast Asia by providing low interest loans, in addition to promoting the renminbi as a regional currency. ASEAN is China’s third-largest trading partner; two-way trade stood at US$267 billion for the first three quarters of 2011.