Wang Xiaolin (R), General Manager of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Brunei Branch, speaks during an interview in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, July 6, 2019. (Xinhua/Jeffrey Wong)
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Despite the challenging market environment, the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Brunei Branch is optimistic that its profit will grow on the back of assuring Brunei's future economic prospect, Wang Xiaolin, General Manager of the bank said here Saturday.
During the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Brunei Branch's Open House in conjunction with annual Hari Raya celebration, Wang told Xinhua that when they first opened in 2016, they entered a "small and limited market" condition, and they were "doing their best to survive."
However, the general manager said they had actually "achieved a lot more than expected" since then.
According to the general manager, in the first year after opening, the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Brunei Branch managed to make ends meet, and it already recorded "little" profit during last financial year. But this year it saw its profit rise.
Wang said he was optimistic that it would grow as the Brunei economy is recovering from stagnation.
"The Bank of China (Hong Kong) is gaining strength in Southeast Asia, and now among the top banks in the region," Wang said.
Currently, the bank's Brunei branch is putting more efforts in serving corporate business. Wang said the bank could have served more private customers in Brunei but it lacks manpower to do so.
The general manager said at the end of this year, their staff would reach 30 from 25 now.
He believed the completion of the first phase of the Hengyi Industries' crude oil refinery and petrochemical plant, which will provide economic boost to the sultanate's gross domestic product (GDP), will also bring big opportunities for the bank.
The bank's Brunei branch has been cooperating with Hengyi on the next phase of the project even before the first phase began operation, according to Wang.
With Brunei's economic diversification efforts, the government's "Vision 2035" supported by the influx of Chinese foreign direct investments and the Guangxi-Brunei Economic Corridor, a bilateral project between China and Brunei, its economic future is promising.
The first phase of Hengyi's crude oil refinery and petrochemical plant will be launched soon, which is also expected to bring strong growth momentum of Brunei's economy.