Standard Chartered PLC's acquisition of a Taiwan bank, the first by an overseas investor, helps the company in "connecting the dots" on its Greater China strategy, its head of operations in Taiwan said.
"You've got 2 million people living in China," said the company's Taiwan chief executive, Jim McCabe, in Taipei this month, referring to Taiwanese living in China. "I like the position we're in. I like what we can do."
London-based Standard Chartered's US$1.2 billion purchase of Hsinchu International Bank (
The Taiwanese across the strait are beyond the reach of the nation's banks, which aren't allowed to open branches in China. Clients abroad often must turn to Chinese banks for wealth management advice or loans.
McCabe, in his first media interview, declined to comment on who the bank's clients are or how many operate in China. The Hsinchu industrial park, near one of Standard Chartered's two main offices in Taiwan, is the cradle of technology companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (
"At least half of the companies in the industrial park have factories in China," said Steven Chen (陳智誠), an analyst with Taiwan Ratings Co (中華信評). "The acquisition allows Standard Chartered to expand trade-related business," such as for settling international payments, with the nation's smaller firms.
Taiwan's companies and individuals are the biggest investors in China, having poured US$150 billion into the country. Quanta Computer Inc (
"By focusing on the small and medium-sized companies in China, Standard Chartered is cutting into a niche business area where Taiwanese banks are totally absent," said Sherry Lin (
The bank said yesterday its global first-half profit rose 26 percent as its China revenue doubled. Standard Chartered will have 40 branches in China by the end of this year, up from 30 now, McCabe said. The bank also plans to add more than 1,000 workers, giving it 3,500 in China by the year's end.
China offers better prospects for lending growth. Banks in China extended 2.5 trillion yuan (US$330 billion) in new loans in the first six months, 14.7 percent more than a year earlier. That's almost five times the 3 percent loan growth of Taiwan's banks in the first quarter.
Taiwan has more than 40 local banks, 30 foreign banks and hundreds of grassroots lenders serving 23 million people, resulting in fierce competition for customers for almost every kind of financial service, from credit cards to mortgages.
"The challenge in Taiwan is the fact that the natural consolidation that has taken place globally in the banking industry has been late here in Taiwan," said McCabe, 54, who was chief executive of Standard Chartered in the Americas before assuming the Taiwan post last September.
Standard Chartered "is open to" acquiring more banks to add outlets in northern Taiwan, McCabe said. Only nine of its 86 branches are in Taipei.
Standard Chartered's Taiwan operations had a pretax loss of NT$112 million (US$3.4 million) in the first five months of this year, narrowing from NT$1.6 billion a year earlier, data from the Financial Supervisory Commission showed. A surge in defaults on credit and cash card loans in 2005 and last year hurt earnings of banks in the nation.
McCabe hopes the bank will report a profit this year, helped by its Hsinchu acquisition. The bank focused mainly on integrating Hsinchu in the first half, he said. The merger was completed last month, three months ahead of schedule.
Standard Chartered, which now has 4,300 employees in Taiwan, plans to add 250 salespeople before the end of this year to expand wealth management services, McCabe said. It will begin private banking next year, he said.
Taiwan had 210,000 people at home and abroad with net assets of at least US$1 million in 2005, controlling about US$585 billion in wealth, according to the Boston Consulting Group, which advises private banks.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to
The US stock market has been on a tear, yet the country’s economy is in the dumps. So why do so many people believe — undoubtedly incorrectly — that the stock market has decoupled from reality? The economy many people experience, while bleak, is local, personal and, for the most part, either not publicly traded or plays only a small part in the stock market’s moves. To explain why these personal experiences have so little effect on equity markets, we must look more closely at the market role of the weakest industry sectors. The surprising conclusion: The most visible and economically vulnerable