BBVA ups stake in China

SPANISH bank BBVA is looking to plough a further &euro;1.1bn (&pound;991,000) into China&rsquo;s Citic Bank, increasing its reputation for Chinese invesment.<br /><br />The bank, which would lift its stake from 10 to 15 per cent, is bucking the trend of Western banks such as UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland, who have been pulling out of the Chinese market during the financial crisis.<br /><br />BBVA, led by chairman Francisco Gonz&aacute;lez, is expected to exercise its option to increase its share before the deadline next week. It has the right to buy the share directly from Citic at the bank&rsquo;s Hong Kong initial public offering price, plus 10 per cent, or HK$6.45 (50p).<br /><br />BBVA is smaller than rival Santander in terms of global expansion, but has a bigger reach in Asia, with nine regional offices. BBVA says once it knows the Chinese market better, it can access other significant Asian markets.