An influential ‘princeling’, who has headed the powerful state-run China Development Bank (CDB) for more than a decade, has been tasked with leading China’s planning and strategy in taking forward the BRICS Development Bank project.
Chen Yuan (68), who, as the head of the CDB for 15 years, oversaw a massive expansion in the bank’s role in helping finance an infrastructure boom at home and a surge in Chinese investments overseas, has given up his role as Governor of China’s fifth-largest bank, according to reports in the Chinese media on Friday.
Mr. Chen will now “lead China’s preparation” for establishing the BRICS Development Bank, Caixin financial magazine reported.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to take forward the proposal at the leaders’ summit in Durban last month. The summit’s declaration was seen by some analysts as a disappointment, for failing to come up with a specific proposal or concrete agreement about either the size or functioning of the bank.
Mr. Chen’s appointment, however, will be seen as underscoring China’s seriousness in taking forward the project considering his unique political background.
Mr. Chen’s father, Chen Yun, was among the Communist Party’s influential first-generation leaders known as the ‘eight immortals’, who also included former leader Deng Xiaoping. The older Mr. Chen played a vital role in formulating economic policy.
His son has headed the powerful CDB, which has assets in excess of $1 trillion, since 1998. Under his charge, the state-controlled bank became the single largest backer of Chinese companies’ overseas investments. The CDB, as of last year, had outstanding foreign exchange loans exceeding $230 billion, Caixin reported.