The new BRICS bank has opened for business in Shanghai.
The so-called emerging BRICS countries are made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and their New Development Bank has been seen as a challenge to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The opening on July 21 -- announced in a short dispatch by China's official Xinhua news agency -- comes two weeks after a BRICS summit hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow -- which has suffered huge currency fluctuations and struggled to attract investors since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine -- sees the bank and a BRICS currency-reserve pool as an alternative to the U.S.- and European-dominated world financial system.
The BRICS countries represent 40 percent of the world's population and are seeding the bank with an initial $100 billion in capital.
“The BRICS nations are redefining the world,” said Leslie Maasdorp, a South African bank vice president who is charged with opening the bank's first regional branch in Johannesburg.