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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Singapore
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UOB keen on China expansion and takeovers

The lender wants a long-term commitment in its growth in China without rushing things.

United Overseas Bank is poised to expand its network in China and is open to takeover opportunities in the country, its Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wee Ee Cheong said in Shanghai on Friday.

The bank has eight branches and three sub-branches in China - in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Chengdu, Shenyang and Tianjin.

It has gained regulatory approval to open a branch in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. 

"We are not in a rush to expand. It's essential for us to grow steadily in China with a long-term commitment," Wee said, adding that the bank will ride the wave of growing activities from China in the region as more Chinese companies go aboard.

The bank launched its domestic entity, United Overseas Bank (China), in December 2007 with a registered capital of 3 billion yuan (US$469 million) in Shanghai.

Wee said the bank is open to acquisition opportunities in China. It has a stake in Evergrowing Bank, a joint stock bank based in Yantai, Shandong Province. The bank also has set up an asset-management joint venture with Ping An Life Insurance.

View the full story in Shanghai Daily.

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