Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the mainland’s largest lender by assets, has received approval for set up a wholly-owned investment banking unit in Hong Kong, the Wall Street Journal reported. Citing the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s website, the paper said ICBC International Capital will conduct securities trading and corporate-finance advisory services. The new entity was approved on May 27. The move is part of a larger trend in which Chinese state-controlled banks are diversifying into financial services beyond lending and taking deposits, the paper said. ICBC is also aggressively expanding overseas, winning regulatory approval to set up a branch in Sydney last month and acquiring 20% of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group in October 2007 for US$5.5 billion.