Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Citibank touts its benefits in SE Asia expansions

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Citibank Asia-Pacific treasury and trade solutions head Rajesh Mehta is pictured at the company’s head office in Taipei on Friday last week.

Photo: courtesy of Citibank Taiwan Ltd

Taiwanese companies aiming to participate in the government’s New Southbound Policy must be prepared to overcome the challenges of cross-border transactions, capital flows and other uncertainties as international trade increasingly remains within Asia, Citibank NA said.

The proportion of inter-Asia trading has grown to about 50 percent of total trading by Asian economies, the US lender said.

Firms’ footprints have expanded markedly with the added complexity of navigating different laws and regulations, time zone differences and foreign currencies, it added.

The landscape in global trade has changed tremendously since 2009, as outward expansion momentum shifts from developed to emerging markets, Citibank Asia-Pacific treasury and trade solutions head Rajesh Mehta told a news conference in Taipei on Friday last week.

While Citibank might not be the dominant player in any single market, the company has a network of more than 50,000 employees across 17 Asian markets, Mehta said.

“We look for customers who value our strength as a global and digitally focused bank, and we are ready to help those who are ready to expand across borders,” Mehta added.

Citibank’s deep local knowledge can help Taiwanese companies overcome difficulties such as India’s cash crisis and Indonesia’s requirement that all domestic sales must be rupiah-denominated, he said.

The company last year inked a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board reaffirming Citi’s commitment to improving regulatory information sharing, market intelligence and insight to better match investors and customers with local partners, as well as fulfilling and understanding local compliance requirements, he added.

While other global banks might claim to have a bigger presence in Asia due to their larger base footprint at regional hubs such as Singapore or Hong Kong, Citibank is more likely to have sizable local operations to support businesses wherever they go, Mehta said.

The bank’s combination of local knowledge and an extensive global network could identify opportunities for companies that might otherwise be left undiscovered, he said.

The company’s online banking system, CitiDirect BE, can help digitize transactions, including receivables and payable management, investment services, working capital and trade financing services, he added.

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