Multinationals are ill-equipped to cope with the rapid rise in renminbi-denominated cross-border transactions, according to a new survey.
A research report produced by Allen & Overy and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 90 per cent of the companies surveyed said that RMB use is important for business.
However, 77 per cent think that there is a lack of understanding within their company about how to conduct RMB transactions.
According to Allen & Overy, RMB is now the fifth most popular global payment currency by value – having been in 20th place four years ago.
Moreover, RMB global payments grew in value by 102 per cent last year.
Allen & Overy China regulatory partner Jane Jiang said: “Rapid growth in the RMB’s use is being matched by rapid change in the currency’s regulatory framework.”
“To meet this challenge, many multinationals exposed to the RMB will have to think differently about their treasury function,” Ms Jiang said.
“Many of the old restrictions and constraints on which companies based their renminbi-related decisions and strategies are fading away.
“China’s RMB regime is likely to be a source of new possibilities for those companies who not only keep abreast of the changes and adjust their own policies in response but also dare to ask for changes by proactively communicating with more listening regulators,” Ms Jiang said.
Despite various challenges, multinationals are nonetheless using RMB at an elevated rate.
More than 50 per cent of companies use RMB for transactions outside China – Singapore (74 per cent), South Korea (59 per cent), eurozone (58 per cent), and North America (54 per cent).
“The growth in use of RMB is not just a China success story,” said Ms Jiang.
“There is fierce competition among global financial centres to become the market of choice for RMB transactions.
“This underlines the need for a better understanding of how to best use the currency, not just in China but across a multinational's network,” Ms Jiang concluded.
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