Tencent Unit Tie-Up Propels Bank of East Asia to 16-Month High

BEA CEO David Li
David Li, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of East Asia Ltd., speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong on Feb. 12. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Bank of East Asia Ltd.’s shares rose to the highest in 16 months after the Hong Kong lender said that a tie-up with Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s fledgling online lender will help it to expand in China.

Shares of the bank, controlled by the family of Chief Executive Officer David Li, gained as much as 4.9 percent to HK$34.50, the highest intraday price since Dec. 3, 2013. The stock rose 2.9 percent as of 10:58 a.m local time, compared with a 0.4 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

The Hong Kong bank, which has 128 outlets in China, said Thursday that a cooperation agreement with Shenzhen-based WeBank Co. will help it target customers through the lender’s online platform and data analysis. The companies will help each other in areas including customer referrals and personal loans provided regulators approve, Bank of East Asia said.

“Internet finance is a hot topic in China,” Edmond Law, a Hong Kong-based analyst with UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Ltd., said by phone Friday. “Bank of East Asia, which has a substantial lending portfolio in China, would likely benefit from the cooperation.”

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