BEIJING (Reuters) - The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been formally established and is expected to be operational early next year, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.
The bank's establishment came after 17 funding members of the AIIB, which account for just over 50 percent of its share capital, ratified an agreement on the bank, state television quoted Finance Minister Lou Jiwei as saying.
The bank will hold its opening ceremony in mid-January and formally elect its president, state television said.
The bank will initially focus on financing projects in power, transportation, and urban infrastructure in Asia, the television quoted the bank's president-elect, Jin Liqun, as saying.
First proposed by President Xi Jinping less than two years ago, the bank has become one of China's biggest foreign policy successes. Despite the opposition of Washington, major U.S. allies such as Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have joined.
Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Macfie