The Kobe Branch of the Bank of China opened to the public for business in Kobe, western Japan on Friday. This is the sixth branch established in Japan by the Bank of China. Addressing the opening ceremony of the new branch, Li Lihui, president of the Bank of China said that the bank set up a branch in Osaka in 1931, becoming China\'s first bank to establish a branch in Japan. In recent years, as the economic relations between China and Japan developed rapidly, the Bank of Japan also saw a great development in its business in Japan, Li said, noting that the bank ranks firs both in business scale and earnings among China\'s commercial banks that have set up branches in Japan. Zhang Xin, Vice Consul-General of China in Osaka and Hyogo Prefecture Governor Toshizo Ido also delivered their speeches at the occasion. Kobe is the fifth-largest city and the largest trade harbor in Japan,with a population of about 1.5 million,including several tens of thousands of overseas Chinese.