Invest Toronto – China Construction Bank’s Canadian Advantage

The Assignment

Invest Toronto needed a representative in China who understood what Chinese outbound investors were looking for in an investment destination

  • Invest Toronto is the primary business, sales and marketing corporation for the City of Toronto.
  • Invest Toronto’s role is to promote Toronto’s advantages internationally and attract foreign direct investment to the city.
  • With a Chinese government policy of promoting outward investment globally, Tractus was appointed in 2011 as InvestToronto’s foreign direct investment (FDI) lead generation representative in China.
  • Our role was to identify and target Chinese investor leads and then assist InvestToronto to engage, nurture and facilitate these relationships so they result in investment into Toronto.
  • Many Chinese companies have limited or zero overseas experience; there are language and culture barriers as well as expectations as to what role and services an economic development organization will provide to them and InvestToronto needed hands-on support on-the-ground in China.
  • InvestToronto selected Tractus as its FDI lead generation representative because of our over 15 years of experience providing FDI strategy and advisory consulting services to private companies and economic development organizations (EDOs) and our proven understanding of what Chinese companies are looking for in an investment destination.

Tractus’ Solution

As the gateway to Canada, Tractus focused on identifying key Chinese companies in Toronto’s targeted sectors that did not yet have a presence in Canada

  • As the gateway to doing business in Canada, Tractus focused on identifying Chinese companies in Toronto’s targeted sectors that did not yet have a presence in Canada for its investment attraction efforts.
  • Tractus identified companies in these key sectors, undertook initial research to understand their outbound investment plans and to identify key decision makers and schedules meetings with them to introduce Toronto and its investment attractiveness.
  • These face-to-face meetings were just the beginning of regular conversations with potential leads, discovering the demands of investment plans and giving the feedback plus required information as appropriateto allow decision-makers dialogues.
  • Tractus team worked closely with InvestToronto’s team in Canada to mature these leads.
  • Since the finance sector is one of Toronto’s targets, we determined that China Construction Bank Corporation Limited (CCB) offered good potential as they only had one branch office in North America – in New York – and a strategy of expanding into new high potential overseas markets.
  • Through our local relationships, Tractus was able to meet with senior CCB executives discuss with them their investment plans.
  • This initial meeting led to subsequent meetings between CCB’s overseas department directors with InvestToronto where we learned more about their business structure and investment plan for North American marketand we recommended Toronto for their expansion consideration.
  • After the meeting, Tractus team worked with the InvestToronto and kept CCB informed regarding the latest information about the North American market, benchmark of top cities and local basic process/requirement of Toronto.
  • We assisted CCB with invitation letters to facilitate a visit to Canada and connected them with service providers for legal, tax, regulatory and real estate issues and the CCB group sent a preparatory team.
  • Tractus worked closely with both CCB, InvestToronto and Canada-based service providers to assist in the due diligence and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) submission process.
  • InvestToronto helped the CCB for on-site investigation during its office location selection process as well.

Result

A well targeted investor and close support resulted in China Construction Bank opening its first branch office in Canada and second in North America in 2014

  • With the approval by OSFI in October 2014, China Construction Bank opened its Toronto Branch on 5 December, 2014.
  • This was China Construction Bank’s first branch in Canada, its second branch in North America (after the New York branch), and the first Chinese bank to have a full service branch license in Canada.
  • This success has supported China-Canada economic business development.
  • In 2016, just two years after opening, CCB’s Toronto branch assets has exceeded C$1 billion and it is reportedly operating profitably and successfully.

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