Banco Nacional Ultramarino well prepared to support companies from Portuguese speaking countries

15 July 2019

Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) is well prepared to participate in the Greater Bay Area project as a business partner of companies in Portuguese-speaking countries and China, said the chief executive director of the first bank ever established in Macau.

Carlos Cid Álvares, in an interview with the Forum Macau newsletter, also said that the bank he currently runs “is a solid, stable financial institution with high level of experience and knowledge in the Chinese and Portuguese-speaking markets,” and noted, for example, the opening of a branch in Hengqin in 2017, “to be closer to its customers.”

The chief executive of the BNU pointed out that the Greater Bay Area project offers clear opportunities for Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries, as it is a region with great dynamism, one of the richest in China and with a longstanding tradition of openness to the outside.

“It is important to note that three of China’s first special economic zones were established in Guangdong Province (Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou) in the 1980s, which contributed to the economic development of the region, where numerous foreign companies were set up,” he recalled.

Shenzhen is now one of the most advanced technological development and innovation centre in the world, where large Chinese groups from the sector are installed, including Huawei, Tencent, ZTE, Lenovo, Dajiang, Gree and others. The area has been awarded more international patents than France and the United Kingdom, and “this development is expected to deepen as the relationship between the different cities of the Greater Bay area increases.”

The Pearl River Delta, which is roughly the same as that of the Greater Bay, contains just 5.0% of China’s population, with about 70 million people, “but produces 11.0% of the total wealth of the country and accounts for a third of total exports.”

The implementation of the plan drawn up by China’s central government, which sets Macau as one of the key cities alongside Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, will further promote the development of the Greater Bay by specialising the characteristics of each of them.

Macau will become a World Tourism and Leisure Centre and a Platform for Trade and Services Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, promoting greater diversification of the economy, with the BNU having a role to play, given its knowledge of the local reality and the fact that Portuguese state group Caixa Geral de Depósitos is present in the Portuguese-speaking countries, in a position of market leader in some of them.

“It is precisely in this way that Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries can benefit from this integration by having easier access through Macau to a broader and more diversified economic area with preferential policies aimed at encouraging investment,” he said.

Álvares pointed out that these companies will have a world of opportunities in a number of areas that are considered a priority in the Greater Bay Area, namely infrastructure (transport, energy, telecommunications, urban waste management), scientific research and innovation, environmental protection and ecology, biotechnology and professional services in general – financial and legal, architecture, engineering, logistics, education, human resources, tourism, health, cultural and creative industries, among many others.

He noted that companies from Portuguese-speaking countries can, if they wish, position themselves as partners of Chinese companies, in order to work together in certain niche markets in which they have competitive advantages.

“These companies will certainly have a greater range of opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, perhaps with local Chinese partners to support their entry into the market, as well as making use of investment triangulation – Macau/China/Portuguese-speaking countries,” he said. (Macauhub)