Wei Zhang (China Everbright Bank): Developing opportunities in Europe
Wei Zhang, who arrived in Luxembourg in 2004, established China Everbright Bank in the grand duchy two years ago. He says the bank is looking to exploit opportunities in fields such as green finance and fintech as foundations of its future growth.
How would you assess the bank’s progress over the past two years?
I would identify a number of key elements that indicate the way in which the business has developed smoothly and met our expectations, starting with our total assets of €4 billion as of September 2019 and net income of €20 million. Governance is one of my priorities, enabling us to improve progressively our structure, systems and procedures. We have managed to attract customers in China as well as Europe in a very short period of time, thanks to a growing public image thanks to involvement in events both in Luxembourg and China. We have created a team culture through harmonisation, compliance, an uncomplicated approached and a focus on efficiency. As a new player in the banking sector, we need to appeal to clients by being different from longer established players, and we invest heavily in training to achieve this goal. As a new business, the Luxembourg bank is subject to close examination both by the CSSF and our own group, which helps us improve rapidly and avoid mistakes. The final element is communication, with clients, other local banks, the government and the regulator; everyone should know how professional our approach is. I am highly optimistic for the future, but all our employees need to keep in mind that we are a young company that still has a lot to learn.
“Our company is ideally positioned to leverage two of Luxembourg’s strongest assets, green finance and fintech.”
What opportunities do you see in the future?
I see many opportunities, but our company is particularly well positioned to exploit two of Luxembourg’s strongest assets. The first is green finance, a field in which the Luxembourg Stock Exchange is highly active and has established multiple relationships with Chinese partners. China Everbright Group is a state-owned group active in a range of financial sector activities, including banking, securities, investment banking and insurance, but we are also very well known in China for our activities in environment protection, the healthcare industry and tourism – and all of our divisions have are oriented toward green criteria. It’s my job to make things happen in this regard in Luxembourg.
What other activities are you targeting?
We regard fintech as a major growth area. China Everbright Group’s cloud payment business is very well established in China, and is used by our retail and private banking clients. I believe that as our group expands its international reach, we will have a key role to play in fintech, and I am exploring possible partnerships in this area. Overall, our bank’s aim is to play an active role in helping many companies come to Europe or expand their business here, and to ensure the future is bright.