Major Chinese lender Bank of Communications is to team up with shareholder HSBC to offer brokerage and insurance products to the domestic Chinese market, news reports have suggested.

Quoting president Zhang Jianguo, Bloomberg has reported that Bank of Communications, the fifth largest in China, and UK-listed HSBC have forged a plan to jointly buy into a brokerage in China and create an insurance unit from scratch.

The ambitious expansion plan comes as China has pledged to lift the traditionally tight restrictions on overseas banks operating within its borders by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Bank of Communications has reported profit in 2005 rose to Y9.25 billion from Y1.6 billion in the previous year.