Wu’s trans-Asia plan for CTBC

Elliot Wilson
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The Taiwan-based bank is determined to break free of the island’s narrow horizons by moving into the markets of its much larger neighbours.


Daniel Wu

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In Taiwan’s cloistered financial services sector – inward-looking, unambitious, largely dominated by stodgy state-run lenders – CTBC Financial Holding stands out like a penguin suit on a farmhand. The group, which oversees CTBC Bank (its primary source of revenues and funding), as well as a fast-growing insurance division, CTBC Life, has in a few short years become the embodiment of Taiwan: aspirational, driven and determined to translate and transport its brand across Asia in the decades to come. 

In charge of realising these ambitions is the group’s president and chief executive officer, Daniel Wu. Sinewy and lean, with a still presence, piercing eyes and fluent English, Wu relaxes in the group’s gleaming new offices on the northern edge of Taipei. Outside the island steams, basking in one of its hottest and most humid summers in years, but inside Wu, dapper and...