Kuwait will take a US$720 million stake in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) as a strategic investor ahead of the lender's expected US$19 billion initial public offering. The government-run Kuwait Investment Authority is joined on the ICBC roster by Qatar's state investment agency, which is spending US$205 million on a stake in the bank, the Financial Times reported. The Kuwaitis began negotiations with ICBC more than 12 months ago but talks were suspended earlier this year in response to a domestic backlash against foreign investment in China's financial sector. The investments account for less than a third of the US$3.5 billion ICBC has allocated to strategic investors, all of whom have agreed to buy a number of shares at the IPO price and then hold them for at least 12 months. Other strategic investors include Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong, both of which are controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, and Henderson Land Development chief Lee Shau-kee.