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CTBC leads Taiwan’s global financial ambitions

Photo: Getty

CTBC Bank is quietly making inroads in its quest to be a regional banking powerhouse, through strategic acquisitions and big international expansion plans.

CTBC Bank, Taiwan’s largest privately owned bank, prides itself on its many firsts. Over the last 56 years it has led the pack in issuing credit cards, opening 24-hour service centres, incorporating QR codes and biometrics, linking payments to Facebook and acquiring a Japanese bank.

So it is no surprise that CTBC is now at the forefront of Taiwan’s efforts to find its place in a fast-changing Asia.

“The bank aspires to be in the league of leading regional banks, differentiated in digital innovation, cross-border offerings tailored to mid- and small-cap corporates, and being the ESG [environmental, social and governance] lead promoter in Asia,” James Chen, CTBC’s president, tells Asiamoney.

These goals coincide with Taiwan’s efforts to achieve something similar, if on a much grander scale – ambitions made all the more difficult by Chinese president Xi Jinping’s attempts to chip away at Taiwan’s hard-won independence, both in political and economic terms.

Our ambition for the next five years is to become a top-tier regional bank in Asia. Our market position is to catch up with DBS
Austin Chiang, CTBC Bank

It is tough enough to navigate a local financial scene populated by nearly 40 banks and to attract and hold on to a critical mass of the island’s population of close to 24 million people.