Macau banks prepare alliance with Portuguese-speaking banks

The Macau Association of Banks (ABM) wants to create an alliance with banks in Portuguese-speaking countries, ABM vice president Sam Tou told Lusa.

ABM’s new management decided to create a subcommittee dedicated to financial services between China and the Portuguese-speaking markets, led by Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), which is under Portugal’s state-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos group.

The new subcommittee also includes the Bank of China Macau branch, which has business operations in Portugal, Brazil, Angola and Mozambique, Well Link Bank, which purchased Novo Banco Asia, and the Macau branch of Haitong Bank, the successor of Espírito Santo Investment Bank.

Sam Tou said that the task force has two main objectives: “to improve Macau’s links with China and Portuguese-speaking countries and become a platform for financial services”.

ABM is carrying out related preparatory works and in February it held an online meeting with the executive secretariat of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, Mr Sam said.

“The Macau Association of Banks  been working actively with its counterparts in Portuguese-speaking countries and has established a very close network of contacts and cooperation”.

Sam Tou recalled that ABM signed a cooperation agreement in May 2019 with associations of banks in Portugal, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe.

The agreement provided for the creation of an alliance to support the launch in China of financial products from Portuguese-speaking countries and to offer financial services to Chinese companies interested in investing in Portuguese-speaking markets.

Despite the obstacles created by the pandemic, Chinese interest in “trade and economic cooperation and investment” in Portuguese-speaking countries “has not diminished”, said Cai Chun Yan, deputy director general of the Bank of China branch in Macau.

Mr Cai added  that “a few decades ago” Chinese companies ventured “alone” in markets such as Portugal, Brazil and Angola.

But currently, “even some large domestic groups” prefer to go through Macau, taking advantage of “the knowledge about Portuguese-speaking countries” in the city, defended Cai Chun Yan.

In the opposite direction, said Sam Tou, countries like Mozambique, Cape Verde, Timor-Leste and São Tomé and Príncipe are “increasingly attentive” to the help that Macau can give them to identify “development opportunities” in China.

In 2017, BNU opened a branch in Hengqin , which can help the bank take advantage of the development of the Guangdong-Macau In-depth Cooperation Zone, Mr Sam told Lusa, added that BNU wants to have a greater presence in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay region and is considering opening a new branch in Guangzhou or Shenzhen.