SBI opened the first Indian bank branch on the Chinese mainland in 2006. The bank also has a branch in Tianjin in the north. "The China desk will coordinate with SBI India and provide handholding and financial advisory services for Chinese investors," K Swaminathan, the bank's Chief Executive Officer (designate) in China, was quoted as saying.
The desk will be handled by Chinese banking executives and will be led by Jean Liu, a banking executive who worked earlier for several Chinese and foreign investment banks in China.
The special desk will provide advisory services. Over 20 Indian firms are taking part in the India-China Business and Investment Forum aimed at introducing latest investment opportunities under the 'Make in India' campaign to their Chinese counterparts. The week-long event, which included India Culture Week celebrations began last week.
Indian firms would be introducing the latest investment opportunities in India in sectors like renewable energies, solar panels, roads, smart cities, infrastructure development, urban transportation and power sector, which are now available to Chinese companies under 'Make in India'.
The launch of the desk comes at a time when India is seeking Chinese investment to push the "Make in India" initiative and for a number of infrastructure projects, including industrial parks for automobiles, power, solar projects and real estate developments.
While there is growing interest among Chinese companies on account of both the slowdown in China and the renewed emphasis in New Delhi on seeking investment from China, officials in both countries acknowledge that translating the interest into on-the-ground investments has proved difficult.
The bank hopes to bridge that gap and will offer for Chinese investors, in Shanghai and elsewhere, handholding services, and, through the bank's investment banking subsidiary SBI Capital Markets, assistance on company formation in India, joint ventures, funding tie-ups and debt raising.
SBI has 17000 branches, including 191 foreign offices spread across 36 countries, making it the largest banking and financial services company in India by assets.