UBS is expanding its footprint in China, a move that will also see the Swiss banking group boost its funding for blockchain research.

According to a report from the Shanghai Daily, UBS is opening a new business centre in the city of Wuxi, to feature a staff of about 200 when it opens. UBS has indicated that it wants to expand the business centre to about 500 staffers over the next three years, with an eye to double the amount of business it does in China during that period.

In an interview with the Chinese newspaper, UBS group COO Axel Lehmann said that the bank is investigating projects like a new settlement system in a bid to achieve greater efficiency.

Lehmann told the publication:

"In this regard, it's a very important area for us to invest in to improve our overall value offering. So we are cooperating with our own in-house innovation labs as well as promoting an open architecture to share our information and data."

Like other banks of its size, UBS has spent much of the past two years testing applications in the areas of transaction settlement and trade finance. The bank is also a member of the R3 distributed ledger consortium.

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