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CTBC Bank's Tung: “About half of our income will come from overseas”
Chairman of Taiwan’s CTBC Bank, Chao-Chin Tung, discusses the bank’s ambitious plan to be the leading player in the domestic market and a global champion. He gave an update on the progress of the bank’s overseas expansion, its continuing digital transformation and focus on regulatory compliance

February 19, 2019 | Foo Boon Ping

CTBC Bank, the largest private commercial bank in Taiwan, is actively expanding overseas to escape the constraints of a highly competitive and saturated home market. The bank, with total assets of $126.8 billion and net income of $1 billion as of December 2017, competes with over 40 other domestic players in an arguably small market with a population of no more than 24 million people. Yet, it was the most profitable in the industry. Chairman of the bank, Chao-Chin Tung, stressed that overseas expansion is one of the ways to ensure “a reasonable return” to its shareholders.

In the past five years, the bank has increasingly looked overseas for growth and appears to be reaping tangible results. Its recent overseas foray includes the acquisition of a small retail bank in Japan in 2014, Tokyo Star Bank, the first domestic bank to be wholly owned by a foreign bank. It provides financial solutions and overseas networks for Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to expand their business in Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia.

In 2017, it acquired a 35.6% stake in Thailand’s LH Financial, with the objectives of leveraging it to serve Taiwanese corporation operating in the country for cross-border trade finance and wealth management.

Now, it operates a comprehensive overseas network with over 260 service outlets in 14 countries and regions that include separate subsidiaries in the US, Canada, Philippines and Indonesia.

However, Tung explained that the importance of an overseas business is not a new or recent realisation. “We started more than twenty years ago to understand that to help our customers to grow overseas we needed an international presence,” he said. The bank then started to progressively expand its overseas markets and build a complete cross-border financial service platform.

Its North American operations was first established in 1989 with coast-tocoast presence in the US with New York in the east an...

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Keywords: Global Network, Regulations, Digitalization, Industrial Loan, Cross-border