NAIROBI, July 3 (Reuters) - The Central Bank of Kenya has granted Bank of China a license to open a representative office, a likely first step towards a full operation in east Africa, the central bank said on Tuesday.
Foreign lenders have been looking to set up operations in Kenya where collective industry profit jumped 20.4 percent last year to 89.3 billion shillings ($1.07 billion).
BOC, in which the Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund holds a substantial stake, is headquartered in Beijing, focusing on corporate and personal banking as well as investment banking.
It also has operations in other countries including South Africa and Zambia.
South African lender FirstRand plans to acquire a mid-sized Kenyan bank, it said in May while opening its own representative office in Nairobi.
Chinese organisations are eyeing Nairobi as a base for a push into Africa, with state broadcaster CCTV, basing its Africa service in the Kenyan capital last year.
The move caused a crisis in the local media industry as CCTV lured dozens of on and off air personnel from local stations with higher pay. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Dan Lalor; Editing by Richard Lough)