South Asia: Best Bank for BRI-related Financing in the Region 2019
In essence, the BRI is little more than a big and ambitious country’s outward-facing trade policy, which happens to hit more Asian economies than it misses. Each year it grows and matures. Perhaps the key BRI change over the last year has been India’s tentative embrace of the project. Standard Chartered’s pitch for this award is evidence of India’s wary but undeniable acceptance that the BRI is a long-term reality that it can no longer afford to ignore.
Over the last year, the UK lender has quietly forged a host of Sino-Indian commercial and trade deals, many of which have the ring of the BRI about them.
Take the bank’s support for LNV, a division of Beijing-based engineering firm Sinoma International, which is building its largest renewable energy plant in south Asia’s largest economy. StanChart is providing, among other things, letters of credit, as well as payments and collections. In September 2018, it created a custom-made solution to support Guangdong-based BBK Electronics, maker of Oppo- and Vivo-branded smartphones, helping it to simplify cross-border import payments.
StanChart has been busy in Dhaka too, using its strength in Bangladesh to provide a comprehensive, one-stop solution, plus a sub-account structure, to China Railway Group, which is building a $3.7 billion road-and-rail bridge over the Ganges river. StanChart is providing a complete range of inbound and cross-border services, including deposits, payments and foreign exchange.
It is hard to find many parts of south Asia where StanChart is not working hard to connect mainland capital and companies with local and regional projects. In Kathmandu, it organized a China Day event in April 2019 to showcase and explain BRI. And it is evident in Colombo, where it arranged, in July 2018, a $400 million bilateral facility for China Merchants Port, to fund the acquisition of a multi-purpose facility in the south of the island.