AIIB to build $1.5bn portfolio this year

The new multilateral bank is working hard to make Hong Kong a member so it can leverage its financial position to help it raise funds.

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) expects to build an asset portfolio of $1.5 billion this year and is aiming for “a minimum” of $4 billion to $5 billion of assets over the next five years, the bank’s president, Jin Liqun, said yesterday at a forum in Hong Kong.

The bank is also considering leveraging Hong Kong’s financial position to raise and manage funds for the AIIB. 

Hong Kong has been lobbing to join the AIIB as a sub-sovereign member and Financial Secretary John Tsang Chunwah has asked the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to set up an office to arrange various types of funding for the AIIB, according to Chan Kakeung, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury. 

Opening its door in Beijing in January, the multilateral bank currently has 57 members. It hopes to increase the number of members to 100, according to Jin. It is understood that there are over 30 countries and economies applying for AIIB membership. The procedure for accepting new members will be discussed during the bank's second board meeting at the end of this month. 

The $100 billion lender, as well as the $40 billion Silk Road Fund, were created to finance infrastructure projects across Asia under the 'One Belt One Road' initiative proposed by China’s President Xi Jinping in 2013. The plan is to better connect major Eurasian economies through infrastructure, trade and investment. 

The bank is expected to offer loans to its first batch of projects by mid-2016 and analysts expects the AIIB to lend between $10 billion and $15 billion annually during the first years of its operations.