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South Korea battling for RMB spoils

Backed by its robust trading relationship with China, the east Asian nation is the latest fledgling offshore renminbi hub. Market participants shed light on South Korea’s renminbi bid as internationalization of the Chinese currency gathers pace.

The increasing internationalization of the renminbi has spawned numerous fronts in the battle to capture business from this exciting new trend in global foreign exchange markets. Headlines often focus on the efforts of leading financial centres such as London and Hong Kong to pull in renminbi business, but some smaller financial hubs are also aiming to grab their own slice of the market.

South Korea’s proximity to China and the resulting close trading relationship mean the importance of the renminbi has been growing for Seoul. This is expected to lead to the emergence of Seoul as another key market in the offshore renminbi sphere.

"Korea is geographically close to China and has a relatively stable socio-economic system," says Hoin Lee, senior foreign attorney and capital markets expert at Korean law firm Kim & Chang. "Furthermore, the cooperation between Korea and China is expected to grow even faster than in the past. The renminbi is already widely used in trade, capital settlement and remittances between the two countries and this is expected to grow. The emergence of Korea as an official renminbi hub will expedite bilateral trade and investment between Korean and Chinese companies and promote the development of an offshore renminbi market in Korea."

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