Taiwanese banks join rush to mainland

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 12:00am
 

Taiwanese banks are set to make their debut in China next year following Taipei's lifting of its 50-year ban on direct trade and investment in the mainland.


Hua Nan Bank and First Commercial Bank - two of Taiwan's top three commercial operators - are leading the way following preliminary approval by the mainland's central bank to set up representative offices, according to Taiwan's China Times.


The move is a result of unprecedented attempts by China and Taiwan to break down commercial barriers to gain entry into the World Trade Organisation. Both are now WTO members.


If everything goes smoothly, Hua Nan is expected to set up a representative office in Shenzhen next year and the First Commercial Bank an office in Shanghai, according to the China Times.


They join the growing ranks of 177 foreign banks operating in the mainland.


Early this year, Taiwan removed restrictions on its banks setting up representative offices on the mainland and eased rules on Taiwanese banks' dealings with counterparts in China.


So far, eight Taiwanese banks have applied to set up in China in what officials said was a move aimed at encouraging Taiwan-invested companies in the mainland to use offshore banking units and overseas branches of Taiwanese banks to manage their capital more efficiently.


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