August 16, 2018 / 4:35 AM / 8 months ago

MOVES-Citi names veteran Li as banking head of China's Belt and Road Initiative

HONG KONG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc said on Thursday it has appointed veteran Beibei Li as its head of Belt and Road Initiative-related banking and origination businesses, as western banks bet on China’s drive to build a modern-day Silk Road to create business opportunities.

In the newly created role, Li, who joined Citi in 1999, will oversee Citi’s banking focus around Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and will relocate from New York to Hong Kong, the U.S. bank said.

Li will report to Citi’s head of corporate banking in Asia Pacific Gerald Keefe.

Introduced in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at building a modern-day economic Silk Road, connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Global banks including Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered have been boosting their staff and presence for offerings — from capital market solutions to hedging — as the belt and road drive fuels demand.

In April, HSBC, which made over 75 percent of its profit in Asia in 2017, named its Malaysia Chief Executive Mukhtar Hussain to the newly created position of head of Belt and Road initiative in Asia Pacific.

Citi’s Keefe said the newly created position would help align the bank’s strategic priorities, connect product and coverage partners, and drive further business opportunities across the Belt and Road network. (Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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