Citi Bank’s commercial desk has set up a new team at the China Desk to assist ‘emerging’ Chinese companies expand to Singapore, CNBC reported.

“Singapore and the broader ASEAN region are key markets for growth for expanding Chinese emerging corporates. A majority of these clients set up holding companies in Singapore for their ASEAN units,” Lin Hsiu-Yi, ASEAN and Singapore head at Citi Commercial Bank told CNBC.

The new China desk is headed by Mona Zhang, a banker who previously focused on mid-sized companies at Citi Commercial Bank’s office in China, the report added.

Citi Commercial Bank focuses on mid-sized companies with annual revenues of up to $1 billion which are looking to expand overseas.

China’s tech and finance groups have been flocking to Singapore

Singapore’s charm as a business centre has grown in recent years as tensions between the US and China have risen. Moreover, China’s recent crackdown on technology companies is expected to increase Singapore’s appeal.

Beijing has been firming its grip on internet platforms in recent months, citing the risk of abusing market power to stifle competition, misuse of consumers’ information and violation of consumer rights, in a reversal after years of a more laissez-faire approach.

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The country issued hefty fines to companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and social media company Tencent Holdings as part of a widening crackdown and has vowed to draft new laws around technology innovation and monopolies.

Client services from China to Singapore jumped over 100% last year

Citi stated that its revenues from client services and flows from China to Singapore had more than doubled last year as compared to the previous year, the report added.

Chinese companies including Tencent, TikTok owner ByteDance and video-streaming platform iQiyi have also expanded to Singapore.