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Japan's Daiwa bets on securities underwriting business in China, CEO says

TOKYO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group Inc plans to open its joint venture securities underwriting business in China in February, capitalizing on increased foreign access to the huge market, Chief Executive Seiji Nakata told Reuters.

China has unveiled a slew of measures in recent years to open up its financial sector - worth trillions of dollars - to foreign firms, including banks, fund management, brokerages and insurance businesses.

Daiwa’s plan to open an underwriting business with two local partners after the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 12, will mark the return of Japan’s second largest brokerage and investment bank to China after a six-year absence.

“Although China has unlimited risks including political ones, it also has unlimited potential growth in its economy,” Nakata told Reuters in a Zoom interview on Dec. 22.

Daiwa’s joint venture with Beijing State Capital Operation Management Center, holding 33%, and Beijing Xi Cheng Capital Holding Co. Ltd., holding 16%, is awaiting an official license from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

Daiwa was active in China for a decade, owning 33% of a joint venture with Shanghai Securities, but pulled out in 2014 after failing to gain significant market share, citing the limited scope of the business.

“It was difficult for us to operate the business at that time because the chief executive of the joint venture came from our partner, not from us,” said Nakata.

Daiwa’s planned launch follows recent moves by other financial firms to increase their stakes in joint ventures in China.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc signed an agreement earlier this month to buy out its local partner and take full ownership of a mainland securities business. JPMorgan increased its stake in its joint venture by 20% to 71% in November.

Daiwa’s bigger Japanese rival Nomura Holdings Inc launched its majority-owned joint venture in December 2019, retaining a 51% controlling share. (Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Yuki Nitta; editing by Jane Wardell)

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