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Philippines becomes top ASEAN destination for Taiwan banks

Posted 2018-04-04 20:49:59

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) The Philippines has become the top destination for Taiwanese banks planning to extend their reach in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market, according to a research paper released Tuesday by the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance (TABF).

In the research paper, the TABF, a research group under the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), said the Philippines, bolstered by its fast-growing economy, has replaced Vietnam for the first time to become the top destination in the ASEAN bloc for local banks seeking to set up branches or representative offices.

Vietnam had been the most-favored ASEAN market for Taiwanese banks in recent years.

The TABF said the local banking sector has been attracted by the fast-growing Philippine economy and views the country as an important revenue resource at a time when the Taiwan market has become saturated due to overbanking.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the gross domestic product of the Philippines is expected to grow 6.8 percent in 2018 on the back of infrastructure investment.

The interest in the ASEAN market from Taiwanese banks has been growing rapidly since the government has been aggressively pushing its New southbound Policy after the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016, the TABF said.

The policy is aimed at forging closer economic ties with the 10 member states of ASEAN, as well as with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Australia and New Zealand, to reduce economic dependence on China.

The research paper urged local banks to expand their talent pools by recruiting international financial specialists and boost business exchanges in the region.

According to statistics compiled by the FSC, the top financial regulator in Taiwan, local banks as of the end of 2017 had set up 485 branches or representative offices worldwide, including 408 located in the Asia- Pacific region, accounting for 84 percent of the total.

In the ASEAN market, the local banking sector has 55 branches and representative offices in Vietnam, the largest number in the bloc, ahead of 47 in Cambodia and 34 in the Philippines. 

(By Tsai Yi-chu and Frances Huang) 


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