Portuguese-Chinese partnerships prosper in banking and law

4 July 2011

Beijing, China, 4 July – Portuguese-Chinese partnerships in banking and law are “prospering” and helping to cement the role of Portugal as “China’s bridge to the world,” particularly the Portuguese-speaking world, according to English-language newspaper China Daily.

In an article published on 28 June entitled, “Iberian hub and China’s bridge to the world,” the largest English-language newspaper in China noted that the banking and financial sector had gained importance in Portugal and pointed to the case of state financial group Caixa Geral de Depósitos, which in Macau controls Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU).

“It is a good moment for BNU.” It is posting record growth. The Macau government is promoting economic activity in the region, which has stimulated business and trade, which means more business for the bank,” the bank’s chairman Rodolfo Lavrador told China Daily.

“BNU is an excellent example of the relationship between the two countries. It could be a guide for Portuguese companies that want to invest in China and in Macau. It could also be a reference point to identify investment opportunities in the Portuguese-speaking world in countries such as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and East Timor, with which Portugal has excellent relations,” said the chairman of the bank.

BNU, which has been in Macau for over a century, posted a 25 percent rise in profit in 2010.

According to Lavrador, Portuguese companies are going to China seeking partnerships with local businesspeople and new tourism and new technologies are opportunities for small and medium-sized companies.

BNU’s objectives include expanding its presence in Macau, but also in Asia in general.

More recently Portuguese law firms have been setting themselves up in China, such as Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira which has large Portuguese groups as it clients as well as Spanish companies, to which it provides business and tax law services.

“Our offices in Shanghai were opened because we felt that our clients wanted to business there, set up their companies or have trade relations with China. We understood that we had to follow them and be in the market,” Manuel Castelo Branco, managing partner of Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira told China Daily.

“Now our office in Shanghai is a string window through which the Chinese can look at our firm and say that we are their partners for investments in any country where we have a base,” he said.

Portugal’s largest law firm, PLMJ is in Macau via a partnership with DSL Lawyers.

The PLMJ International Legal Network also includes a partnership with Dacheng, China’s largest law firm, desks in Angola and Mozambique, as well as local offices in Angola and Mozambique: Gabinete Legal de Angola (GLA) e Gabinete Legal de Moçambique (GLM).

The China daily also noted the role of Macau Forum and other institutions in the autonomous region of China in bringing the business communities from both countries closer together.

Whilst Chinese imports in Portugal grew over 32 percent last year, exports to China rose by almost 61 percent, and trade between China and all the Portuguese-speaking countries expanded by around 50 percent.

The article noted Portugal’s potential, for Chinese companies, in supplying European markets and others thanks to its good logistics and communications facilities.

Other attractions, it noted, are a “highly qualified” workforce and a “strategic” location along with a privileged relationship with Portuguese-speaking countries. (macauhub)