KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait has granted Industrial and Commercial Bank of China an initial licence to open a branch in the emirate, central bank Governor Saad al-Hashel said on Wednesday.
ICBC, one of the world's largest lenders, is the first Chinese bank to operate in the oil-rich Gulf state, where world banking giants BNP Paribas, Citibank and HSBC already operate with one branch each.
The decision on ICBC will shortly be sent for confirmation to the cabinet, said Hashel, quoted by the state-run KUNA news agency.
Kuwait has also allowed seven Gulf banks from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to open branches since it opened its doors for foreign banks in 2004.
By law, Kuwaitis must form at least half of the bank's work force within three years of operations.
Kuwait has five local commercial and five Islamic banks.