Silicon Valley Bank said Thursday that it has received a key approval from a Chinese regulator to establish a joint venture bank in Shanghai.

The Palo Alto, Calif., bank agreed to the joint venture with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co. Ltd. back in December and has been working on regulatory approvals from both foreign and domestic regulators since then.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, the bank's parent company, SVB Financial Group, said the China Banking Regulatory Commission gave the green light for its banking unit to proceed with the venture.

"This approval is a meaningful step for the bank in the overall bank licensing process in China," the $19 billion-asset SVB stated in the filing. "Over the coming several months, the bank will work with SPDB to develop the necessary infrastructure and prepare the bank for opening."

The agreement still requires additional Chinese and U.S. regulatory approvals, the company said.