Financial Centre Study: Frankfurt moves upwards with China

  • Long-term opportunities for Frankfurt as a renminbi hub
  • Helaba survey of Chinese banks confirms qualities as a location
  • Essential to pull together in supporting Sino-German financial centre relationship

China’s decision to choose Frankfurt as the first offshore clearing location outside of Asia is a strong signal to the financial community. But as Dr. Gertrud R. Traud, Helaba’s Chief Economist, explains, “There is still a long way to go before a real renminbi hub is established. Currently, it is more of a stylish-looking feature on Frankfurt’s Chinese outfit.” If local players in the financial centre continue consistently pulling together on this issue, the German financial centre has good chances in the long term of attaining a particular significance for the Chinese currency.

Helaba has conducted a survey among large banks from China located in Frankfurt in order to investigate the central qualities that the city possesses as a location and its significance for Chinese players. In analysing the survey, it was apparent that the global expansion of China offers a variety of opportunities for the leading German financial centre. Frankfurt enjoys an excellent reputation in the financial world and acts as a powerful magnet to international players – and to those from China, too. In this regard, Frankfurt has the unbeatable advantage of being the financial centrepiece of a globally significant economy, which is closely intertwined with the Middle Kingdom. With their branches in Frankfurt and Shanghai/Beijing, a number of commercial banks also make a significant contribution towards fostering closer ties between the financial centres.

The journey of Chinese banks to the German financial centre began as early as 25 years ago. In the meantime, each of them employs around 30 to 150 people. Their operations are focussed on trade finance activities between the two large economies and, in this respect, having an office in Frankfurt is indispensable for their business. Chinese banks want to be active at the heart of the banking district as well as in immediate proximity to other institutions from their home country. The various qualities Frankfurt possesses as a location, which had emerged from previous financial centre surveys, were confirmed. In summing up the results of the new study, Traud says, “If the ties between German and Chinese financial centres continue to be supported with such commitment, Frankfurt will move upwards together with China”.

To Helaba Press Release