SINGAPORE (Apr 13): United Overseas Bank (UOB), which has built up a regional presence across Southeast Asia and in China, aims to increase the number of Chinese companies it do business with by 50% this year from 2017, as business activity across this region picks up in line with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Last year, UOB facilitated almost $20 billion in business flows from China to Southeast Asia. The bank is doing so via its FDI Advisory Unit, which was set up in 2011.

Besides providing financial services to these companies, UOB also works closely with government agencies, trade and industry associations and professional service providers to provide comprehensive business advisory services across the region.

The bank collaborates with China’s national business and trade bodies, namely the China Chamber of International Commerce and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

UOB says it is the first and only bank in Southeast Asia to have partnerships with both organisations.

“With Southeast Asian countries ramping up their industrial and infrastructural development, there is a growing demand for foreign investments and relevant skillsets,” says Sam Cheong, UOB’s Head of Group FDI Advisory Unit.

“Chinese companies, with their experience and expertise, are well-positioned to fill this gap. Since we set up the FDI Advisory Unit seven years ago, we have helped to facilitate the expansion of more than 500 Chinese companies into the region,” he adds.