France's BNP Paribas applies to set up a securities firm in China

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The BNP Paribas logo is seen at a branch in Paris, France, February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

BEIJING, April 27 (Reuters) - China's securities regulator has received an application from France's BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) to set up a securities company in China, the latest foreign player to try to expand into brokerage services in the country as it opens up its capital markets.

The application was published on the website of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Tuesday, without any information on the shareholding structure.

France's biggest lender told media in 2019 it was looking into entering the securities trading business in China and studying having a securities joint venture locally.

"BNP Paribas continues to explore all of its options for growth in the China market, where we have had a long-standing presence and developed a fully-fledged corporate and institutional banking business, as well as a successful asset management joint venture." the company said in an email statement to Reuters.

It is also exploring ways to "enhance its local capabilities and delivery to clients in mainland China" as part of its future growth, it added.

China has been pushing ahead with opening up its financial services sector despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It officially scrapped limits on foreign ownership of securities companies in April 2020.

Switzerland-based UBS, Japan's Nomura Holdings, and J.P. Morgan have all received approvals from Chinese financial regulators to take majority stakes in local securities ventures.

Reporting by Cheng Leng, Zhang Yan, and Ryan Woo; editing by Louise Heavens

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