SHANGHAI China's state-owned currency marketplace said on Sunday it was preparing to open branches in London and New York as part of efforts to promote the yuan's global status.
The China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS), a subsidiary of China's central bank, said in a statement that by expanding its network offshore, it aims to serve more overseas institutions and become a "main trading platform and pricing center" for the yuan globally.
China has been gradually loosening its capital controls to allow more foreign participation in its onshore yuan market. Beijing is also fostering offshore yuan centers to promote international use of the Chinese currency.
CFETS provides an electronic bidding system for the yuan against foreign currencies. It also offers cross-rate trading, as well as RMB interbank lending and bond trading. Yuan-based trading on CFETS totaled 618.12 trillion yuan ($94.24 trillion)in 2015, according to official Xinhua News Agency.
The CFETS said that it would further strengthen cooperation with overseas trading platforms, and aim to eventually provide trading services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The market platform extended its trading hours for China's onshore yuan this year to end trading at 11:30 p.m. local time from 4:30 p.m. previously.
"CFETS is willing to provide comprehensive service and support to British institutions who participate in China's inter-bank market, and strengthen cooperation with them as Chinese companies go offshore," Sun Jie, executive vice president of CFETS, told an event in Shanghai.
The event, focused on the topic of yuan's internationalization, was attended by Chinese and British regulators, as well as financial institutions.
Britain and China have been working hard in recent years to strengthen their economic relationship, despite strong differences due to Britain's criticism of China's human rights record. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Britain last October to seal what both call a "golden time" in relations.
Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L), told the same event on Sunday that London is now the world's biggest offshore yuan center after Hong Kong.
LSE is working with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to launch a cross-border investment scheme to link the British and Chinese stock markets.
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Michael Martina; Editing by Clelia Oziel)