Dubai: Min Fang, senior executive Officer of the Dubai branch of the Agriculture Bank of China (ABC), today rang the market-opening bell to celebrate the listing of a 1 billion yuan ($163 million; Dh590 million) bond on Nasdaq Dubai.

ABC, China’s third-largest bank by assets, is the first Chinese issuer to list a bond on an exchange in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. ABC went public in 2010 in China, raising $22 billion in what was then the world’s largest IPO by value.

The bell ceremony took place in the presence of Tang Weibin, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai; Essa Kazim, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and chairman of Dubai Financial Market (DFM); Abdul-Wahid Al Fahim, chairman of Nasdaq Dubai; Hamed Ali, chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, and senior executives of ABC.

“Our decision to issue and list the renminbi bond in Dubai is an important step in our strategy of global expansion,” Min said. “As the Mena region’s international exchange, Nasdaq Dubai is the ideal venue to promote our visibility with investors based in the Middle East and neighbouring countries. We intend to further build the presence of the Chinese currency across the [the] Mena [region] from our base in Dubai, in order to provide the best possible service to our customers and business partners and strengthen overall economic and financial cooperation between China and the region.”
The bank opened its first branch in the Mena region at the DIFC in 2013.

“As the economic and financial ties between China and the Middle East expand rapidly, Dubai is well placed to facilitate a continuing broadening and deepening of this important relationship,” Kazim, DIFC governor and DFM chairman, said.

“The emirate’s sophisticated financial infrastructure is available to promote an offshore renminbi market serving the region and facilitate a range of transactions for the mutual benefit of Chinese and Middle East issuers and investors.”
Al Fahim, Nasdaq Dubai chairman, said: “The listing of ABC’s bond on Nasdaq Dubai underlines the important role of the exchange as a global hub that links our region with the rest of the world. Nasdaq Dubai’s international framework and regulatory standards provide a transparent and stable environment for regional and international market participants alike.”

According to Ali, Nasdaq Dubai CEO, “The exchange is delighted to provide a platform to support the regional activities of ABC, as one of China’s most prominent banks with an expanding footprint in Mena countries. Nasdaq Dubai’s high international profile is uniquely positioned to serve issuers from China as they increase their business presence in the region and we look forward to building new relationships with Chinese companies.”

ABC’s bond listed on Nasdaq Dubai on September 15, 2014. Nasdaq Dubai is a global leader in bond listings with a nominal value of $26.79 billion currently listed.