The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) will soon establish criteria to assess applications by Chinese banks planning to open branches in Taiwan after a financial accord with China comes into effect in the middle of next month, commission Vice Chairwoman Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) said yesterday.
Lee made the comment at a seminar in Taipei, where the Beijing-based Agricultural Bank of China (中國農民銀行) expressed an interest in opening branches in Taipei.
Chinese banks wishing to open branches in Taiwan will have to be examined, she said, adding that the recent global financial crisis had exposed many defects in the cross-strait financial supervisory systems.
Lee said the commission was in the process of revising those regulations.
Agricultural Bank of China vice president Yang Kun (楊琨) told reporters yesterday that while the bank intends to open a branch in Taiwan, it has yet to consider acquiring shares in Taiwanese banks because he was not familiar with Taiwan’s regulations.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) last week told media that for the moment, Taiwanese financial institutions would not be opened to Chinese investment.
The Agricultural Bank yesterday launched a new debit card tailor-made for customers shopping on credit in Taiwan, which could serve as a stepping stone for deeper financial cooperation with local banks.
The bank is working together with China UnionPay (中國銀聯) in issuing the debit cards to meet demand by a growing number of Chinese tourists. Chinese people are only allowed to take 20,000 yuan (US$2,930) on their visits to Taiwan.
The launch of the debit card represents “the beginning of cross-strait cooperation and will facilitate increased collaboration,” Yang told another press briefing, without elaborating.
The bank’s clients began using the debit cards in August and have spent more than 300 million yuan in Taiwan, China UnionPay said.
The number of Chinese tourists nearly tripled to 766,026 in the first 10 months of this year, compared with last year’s 258,852, making up more than 21 percent of the total of 3.53 million tourists to Taiwan, the latest statistics by the Tourism Bureau showed.
The bank’s debit card holders can shop at more than 6,000 stores across Taiwan.
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