TAKING advantage of the growing potential in the Greater China region, Taiwan's President Securities Group and Hong Kong's First Eastern Investment Group have established joint ventures in securities and asset management. The region includes China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The move is in line with the Taiwanese brokerage's drive to become international after it has expanded its domestic network in Taiwan. 'In the next three years, we plan to have 25 to 30 branches in Taiwan from the existing 14 branches,' said the president of President Securities Group, Raymond Tu. 'We also want to go international. The first step is to set up a subsidiary in Hong Kong because the Greater China region is a fast-growing area.' The first venture is called President Securities (International), providing brokerage, corporate finance and fund management services. With an initial capital of HK$5 million, the venture is 51 per cent owned by President Securities, with the balance held by First Eastern, an investment group formed by its chairman, Victor Chu, and his family. The venture is able to trade on stock exchanges in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan through its associates. A stockbroking affiliate of First Eastern is an underwriter of B shares in China. In addition, President Securities (International) has applied to Taiwan's Securities Exchange Commission for qualified foreign institutional investor status, which would allow it to trade Taiwan-listed securities on behalf of foreign investors. Mr Chu said it was applying to the securities regulator for a quota of US$200 million for foreign investment in the island's stock market. In corporate finance, the venture will be targeting transactions involving offshore convertible and fixed-income bonds, global receipts as well as Hong Kong and China-concept stocks. Through its other joint venture, President Asset Management (International), it will provide portfolio management services. The asset management arm is planning a closed-end direct investment fund for China, with a proposed size of between $30 million and $50 million. The proceeds will be raised from private placement. Mr Tu said that through the joint ventures President would draw international capital to Taiwan, explore opportunities in the Greater China region and facilitate the industrial operation on the mainland of its major shareholder, President Enterprise. The President group has more than 10 operations in China, mainly in food processing, food packaging and manufacturing. As Taiwan was planning to open stock holdings to foreign individuals, Mr Tu said they could access the market through the ventures. Meanwhile, Mr Chu said the ventures would bridge investment flow among China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and help Taiwan investment in the mainland to obtain a listing in the territory.