Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Spanish banking giant to expand business in Taiwan

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Spain-based bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) yesterday said it was expanding its business in Taiwan on the back of a warming cross-strait ties.

The lender is upgrading its small office in Taiwan, which was set up four years ago, into a branch. It expects to hire 30 to 40 more staffers next year to cope with local business expansion, according to BBVA’s Asia managing director Manuel Galatas Sanchez-Harguindey.

The expansion comes as the bank is looking to help Taiwanese companies operating in Latin America expand operations there, he said.

The lender is the biggest in Spain and Mexico, and one of the 15 largest commercial banks in the US.

It is also one of the few large international financial institutions that are currently operating in China.

BBVA has a global head count of 104,000 in more than 30 countries. It has more than 47 million customers, as well as 900,000 shareholders.

BBVA was among 27 foreign companies that signed letters of intent with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday, promising to pour investments totaling NT$108.25 billion (US$3.42 billion) into Taiwan.

The investments are expected to help generate 12,900 jobs in Taiwan’s electronics, chemicals and electrical vehicle sectors, the ministry said.

The 27 enterprises include eight from the US, six from Japan, six from Europe, three Taiwanese-funded firms based overseas and the rest from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

They include Hewlett-Packard Co, Qualcomm Inc, GlaxoSmithKline, Corning Display Technologies, Canon Inc and Standard Chartered Bank.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Liang (梁國新) invited foreign firms to boost their investment activities in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s role as an Asia-Pacific regional operation center is stronger than ever after the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in late June, not to mention future free trade agreements that Taiwan could ink with other countries, he said.

“Taiwan will play a more diversified role and a more vital one in the international economy,” he said.

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