BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Taiwan

Taiwan Cooperative plans expansion in China

Economic cooperation between China and Taiwan enabled Taiwan lenders to exploit cultural similarities with Mainland.

The Taiwan Cooperative Bank, which operates Taiwan's largest banking network, is in early talks with four Chinese banks on strategic cooperation in areas such as syndicated loans and credit business, Chairman Liu Deng-Chen said on Wednesday.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Liu declined to name the four banks, saying only that they included state-controlled and city commercial banks.

The government-controlled Taiwan Cooperative Bank is chasing opportunities in China created by a sweeping trade liberalization deal, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or ECFA, which passed the Taiwan legislature on Tuesday.

Mr. Liu, who recently returned from a visit to China, expressed optimism that Taiwan banks have an edge over foreign players such as HSBC Holdings PLC and Citigroup Inc in China.

"We speak the same language and our cultures are similar," he said.

Taiwan Cooperative plans to open its first branch in China's Southeastern city of Suzhou to serve the area's some 8,000 Taiwanese enterprises in the next few months, subject to approval from Chinese banking regulators, Mr. Liu said.

View the full report in the Address line 1 Wall Street Journal.

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