The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC; 601398.SH, 1398.HK), the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, will open five new branches across Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported. New branches will open during the next two weeks in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Madrid and Milan, and will more than double the bank’s existing European presence in London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Moscow. ICBC was active in expanding abroad during 2010, making incursions into Canada, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, often via a series of small local retail bank acquisitions. However, its presence still pales in comparison with its smaller but more international competitor Bank of China (BoC; 601988.SH, 3988.HK), which has branches in 11 European cities and was recently allowed to issue renminbi-denominated accounts in the United States.
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