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BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Taiwan
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The Mainland finally branches into Taiwan

Two of China’s top five banks are to establish branches on Taiwan, becoming the first Mainland lenders to bank on the island.

Bank of China (BOC), the mainland's third-largest lender by assets, and Bank of Communications (BoCom), the fifth-largest, have received authorization to invest $40 million and $51 million, respectively, in building their branches.

Both have operated representative offices on Taiwan for over a year before being allowed to open branches. In 2009, Taiwan and China signed a series of agreements that fostered cooperation in banking, insurance and securities.

Mainland Chinese firms have invested some US$184 million in Taiwan since it relaxed rules on mainland investment in 2009, according to Taiwanese government data.

Diplomatic and economic ties have improved markedly since Beijing-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan's president in 2008. He was reelected for a second four-year term last month.

BOC, the oldest bank in China, is one of the big four state-owned banks. It is also the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalization. BoCom, another big four bank, is rated as one of the top 100 banks in the world and opened its first Hong Kong branch in 1934.

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