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Bank SinoPac opens Taiwan's 1st branch in mainland China

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) opened a branch in the mainland Chinese city of Nanjing yesterday, marking the first Taiwanese bank to open a branch in mainland China.

With the opening of the new branch, Bank SinoPac's chairman Ho Shou-chuan (何壽川) said that the company has chosen a difficult path, and will work extremely hard to make the new endeavor a success.

The new branch has a net value of 2 billion yuan and will be led by Bank SinoPac's vice general manager Chung Min-min (鍾敏敏). The branch will provide consumption related financial services, such as individual deposit and finance management, Chung said, adding that the branch will introduce Taiwan's experience.

As the government of China pushes for interest rate liberalization and promotes e-commerce financial services, SinoPac said it will look into related business in the future, and may form joint ventures with players in other industries.

The Chinese branch will be able to utilize SinoPac Holding's (永豐金控) resources, such as leases and investment trust businesses to form a comprehensive service network. The local branch will provide financial services to individual and business clients.

SinoPac intends to establish more branches in mainland China in the future. Besides Taiwanese clients, the company aims to serve businesses in 25 emerging industries in China. Mid-sized and small enterprises throughout the supply chain are also the bank's target customers.

Collaboration with ICBC

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) announced that it will take 20 percent equity in SinoPac. Once the Cross-Strait Trade In Services Agreement is passed, Bank SinoPac will be the first Taiwanese bank to receive investment from a Chinese bank.

Ho said that all banks in Taiwan would like to see the service trade agreement passed as soon as possible. As the agreement is currently being deliberated in the Legislature, Ho said he is optimistic that it will be passed very soon.

In addition, SinoPac has been closely collaborating with ICBC. The two banks launched a program in 2011 allowing the U.S. dollar to be directly exchanged in mainland China. The two also combined resources in 2012 to roll out several services including a “Chinese-language remittance service,” so that through direct translation between simplified and traditional Chinese, remittance exchange can be made promptly without language barriers.

The service is provided through CIBC's over 17,000 branches in mainland China has reportedly helped many local enterprises save time and remittance cost.

As of the end of January, the deposit of yuan in Taiwan has reached 214.5 billion, Ho said, adding that the deposit total is likely to reach 400 billion this year. As such, Bank SinoPac will focus its business development on “cross-border financial services.”

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