China is one of our most important strategic markets, a function of its status as a leading country in gold production and consumption. On 1 April 2010, the World Gold Council and ICBC signed a memorandum of understanding, which aims to improve market information, increase investment levels and promote domestic demand in the Chinese gold market. China’s gold demand is expected to double over the next decade to meet jewellery consumption and investment needs. The World Gold Council and ICBC will share resources to provide personnel training, research, product development and trade analysis.
ICBC is the largest and most profitable commercial bank in the world, serving over 215 million individual customers and corporate clients globally. Established in Shanghai on 9 September 2009, the Precious Metals Business Department of ICBC was China’s first specialised institution operating in precious metals.
The department’s objective is to promote development of the precious metals market in China. Its purpose is to enable ICBC to integrate more effectively in the domestic and foreign precious metals markets, accelerate financial innovation and enhance the bank’s capacity to develop internationally.
On December 16th 2010, ICBC and WGC jointly launched a totally new gold investment product for Chinese investors – the ICBC Gold Accumulation Plan (ICBC GAP). Through this product, ICBC is the first commercial bank to provide investors in mainland China with a way to accumulate gold through a daily dollar averaging scheme with payments as little as RMB 10 per day. ICBC GAP has already been pilot tested in key cities over the past few months, resulting in one million accounts having already been opened.