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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Taiwan

Taiwanese banks upbeat to open branches in China

“Early harvest” program enables them to offer yuan-denominated services sooner than other foreign banks.

With the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) having taken effect on Sunday, China might announce approval for a first group of Taiwanese banks to set up branches in China as early as next month, banking industry officials said.

“‘The sooner we can open for business in China, the earlier we can profit’ has become a slogan for Taiwan’s banking institutions,” an official said on Saturday.

Banking industry officials said most Taiwanese banks are putting a lot of effort into launching trade financing and working capital financing for Taiwanese businesses in China, trying to expand their lending base.

First Financial Holding Co chairman Joseph Tsai said the Taiwanese banking industry should first focus on developing the financing business for small and medium-sized Taiwanese companies currently operating in China.

Tsai said the next phase should involve developing wealth management business for local Taiwanese businessmen and ­asset-rich customers.

He also said that Taiwanese banks should consider setting up branches in the Chinese cities of Chongqing, Chengdu, Dalian and Shenyang to cultivate the markets there.

View the full story in Taipei Times.

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