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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Taiwan

First Commercial Bank mulls launching branch in Chengdu

The lender applied for a second branch in China with its Shanghai operations earning US$500,000.

First Commercial Bank, a subsidiary of First Financial Holding Co., recently announced its application to set up a branch in Chengdu in Sichuan Province for one billion renminbi (RMB) or about NT$4.5 billion (US$150 million), after having set up last December its first China branch in Shanghai.

Chinese authorities will generally allow Taiwanese banks to set up second branches after their first branches have been running profitably for at least one year.

C.Y. Lin, president of First Bank, says the branch in Shanghai has so far scored profits of US$500,000 or about NT$14.5 million and should have no problem with the second branch.

Lin adds that the Chinese government encourages financial firms to set up footholds in central and western China to help regional economic development, hence the right time to apply, whose approval will make First Commercial the first Taiwanese bank to set up its second branch in China.

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