We recognise that SEZs are a useful tool for industrial development, especially in areas where infrastructure is lacking. Where infrastructure already exist, it is perhaps not necessary to create SEZs, Indias finance minister P Chidambaram said after inaugurating the first full-fledged branch of Bank of India here.
The one-time fishing village of Shenzhen is the first the SEZ in China. It was Chinas first major experiment with capitalism after late Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping landmark visit to the southern Guangdong province in 1986. The Shenzhen SEZ was originally established in 1979 due to its proximity to Hong Kong, then a prosperous British colony. The SEZ was created to be an experimental ground of capitalism in socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Chidambaram noted that Chinese businesses were already routing 300 million US dollars worth of business through BOI in countries like Singapore and expressed confidence that with the establishment of a full-fledged bank in Shenzhen, Chinese businesses would opt to deal with Indian banks for their requirements in India.
Indian ambassador to China, Nirupama Rao noted that BOI is the only Indian bank to have two offices in China -- Shenzhen and in Beijing, where it has a Representative Office. Pointing out that India will soon open a second Consulate General in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province, she hoped that cities like Shenzhen would play a greater role in fostering stronger bilateral trade between India and China.
BOI chairman andMD M Balachandran said it was a privilege for the bank to commence operations in Shenzhen and contribute to enhanced bilateral trade and economic cooperation.