Southeast Asia: Best Local Bank in the Region for BRI 2019
Siam Commercial Bank
Siam Commercial Bank has built strong and sturdy links with Chinese lenders and corporates, working hard to ensure it is a key conduit in bilateral trade in general, and in local BRI deals.
The Bangkok lender, notes Manop Sangiambut, executive vice-president of SCB’s China business function, is central to several deals that reinforce the sense that Thailand stands to benefit as production shifts out of China and into lower-cost southeast Asian states with good infrastructure.
Over the last year, SCB has been at the heart of two inward FDI deals, financing the construction of a $170 million solar panel factory for China’s Canadian Solar, and a $30 million high-tech agricultural plant for Shanghai-based Soron Biotechnology.
SCB’s fully licensed branches in Hong Kong and Shanghai – the latter opened for business in the middle of 2018 – and its representative office in Beijing, helped to facilitate $12.4 billion in Sino-Thai trade during 2018, and $4.7 billion in the first five months of this year.
A $50 million venture capital fund, formed by SCB in 2018 with the aim of putting capital to work in Chinese fintechs and fintech funds, has been busy from the start. So far, it has put its money to work in two mainland fintech funds, Huaxing Growth Capital and Lingfeng Capital, with a mandate to invest in projects that offer long-term strategic benefits rather than pure financial returns. It has also invested in Beijing-based fintech platform Abakus Technology, with the aim of exporting its Wecash-branded consumer financing model to Thailand and the rest of southeast Asia.
SCB has also been willing to think outside the box. In addition to, in its own words, getting its “hands dirty” by investing directly in Chinese unicorns, the bank says it is also “experimenting [in] something unconventional” for commercial banks: it is building a cross-border e-commerce platform to sell Thai products straight to Chinese consumers. Earlier this year, the bank opened its first branded SCB Online Shop on JD.com’s online market place, JD Worldwide.