The Federal Reserve will allow Hong Kong-based Wing Lung Bank to expand in California as Chinese lenders boost their U.S. presence.

Wing Lung plans to establish a San Francisco branch and upgrade its existing office in Alhambra, California, to a full- service operation, the Fed said today in a statement.

The company has total assets of about $27.2 billion and ranks as the 10th-largest bank in Hong Kong, according to the Fed. China Merchants Bank Co., based in Shenzhen, owns all of Wing Lung's shares, and that company is controlled by China Merchants Group Ltd., the Fed said.

Chinese banks have been expanding in other nations to reduce reliance on domestic markets, where competition has been intensifying. China Merchants Bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. were among lenders who previously received Fed approval for U.S. operations.

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