Britain plans to turn London into a major foreign exchange trading center for the Chinese renminbi to benefit from faster growth in Asia while strengthening the city’s position as a financial center in the wake of the banking crisis.

“London is perfectly placed to act as a gateway for Asian banking and investment in Europe, and a bridge to the United States,” Mr. Osborne, The Chancellor, said in a speech to the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. “This is not just an accident of time zone, or our language, although both are important. It reflects London’s strength in product development, its regulatory structure, and the depth, breadth and international reach of its financial markets.”

The pledge comes as Britain is increasingly feeling the effects of an economic slowdown across Europe, and some British banks have threatened to move their headquarters abroad in light of stricter financial regulation.

The government hopes that steps toward creating a Chinese currency hub in London will help strengthen the city’s role as a financial center vis-à-vis New York and Hong Kong, while helping  Britain attract Chinese investments in other sectors, including infrastructure.