Mrs. Lihong ZHOU (Bank of China): Tailor-made solutions

Mrs. Lihong ZHOU, General Manager, presents Bank of China’s innovative methods in the field of green finance and panda bonds.

Can you describe your bank’s activities in Luxembourg in a few words?  

To our corporate clients, we provide a wide range of services including M&A financing services, commercial real estate finance, structured finance, global project finance, leasing finance, ECA finance, aircraft and shipping finance, trade and commodity finance, tools to support their risk management and working capital requirements etc. In financial markets, we provide a comprehensive range of FICC products and asset management services (structured deposits and investment funds). We also deliver efficient tailor-made DCM financing solutions to different clients, in various currencies, across onshore/offshore markets, through conventional and innovative methods (such as panda bond and green financing). We offer international investors diversified investment tools, from single assets to structured products and investment funds (UCITS and AIF). We also deliver value to our personal banking clients who can trade their own investment ideas in more than 20 capital markets, spanning three continents.

"Bank of China – make daily life easier"

Could you name a transaction that you recently did which illustrates how Luxembourg is now integrated in your global strategy? 

We follow the Group’s global strategy and are also in full support of Luxembourg’s emphasis on green infrastructure and green finance. An example would be that in recent years, Bank of China Luxembourg has issued and listed in Luxembourg various themed bonds conforming to our global strategy. In a milestone transaction, Bank of China issued the inaugural Bank of China offshore green bond in 2016. This multi-currency, senior, unsecured green bond issue totalling USD 3.03 billion was then the largest international issuance by a financial institution. In 2018, Bank of China Luxembourg issued EUR 700 million Belt and Road bonds, which was its first listing of such bonds in Luxembourg, attracting a 260% oversubscription.

What is your advice for Chinese people who have just arrived in Luxembourg?

Luxembourg offers a truly cosmopolitan environment. My personal advice is: have an open mind and get ready for a wonderful, multicultural and multi-linguistic experience when moving to Luxembourg! Besides the three official languages (Luxembourgish, German, French), you can also hear a variety of other languages around you, because 43% of the population are foreign residents, with no less than 60% of residents in Luxembourg City coming from 143 different countries. There is a high possibility that you will eventually, if not immediately, grow to love and enjoy the tranquility, high standard of living in this fairytale country. For art, culture and/or nature lovers, there are always interesting things to experience: countless exhibitions and concerts throughout the year, picturesque nature to be discovered in Luxembourg and surrounding regions, lakes, rivers, parks, castles, and also villages with festivals and markets with local products, etc.

What do you advise people going to China to do first?

One of the big differences with Europe that you may have to adapt to is the advanced payment method and delivery system. You now find that, in China, from street vendors to city malls, mobile payments are replacing cash and credit cards. The Chinese are also very used to online shopping, which stimulates the development of e-commerce and logistics industries. There is a speedy delivery service called ShanSong (闪送), which can complete in-city delivery within 60 minutes. With this you can deliver the soup you have made to your parents while it is still hot. So, I advise people going to China to try China’s payment methods and delivery systems. You can download the relevant app, including the BOC app, that makes daily life easier.