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Secret cross-strait ties

A source tells Euromoney that officials at a Taiwanese bank have been working with a Chinese bank for years, despite it not being "entirely" legal

The relationship between traditional adversaries Taiwan and China is improving.

Agreements such as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) have increased cross-strait dialogue and trade, which aim to ease political and economic constraints between the countries.

However, Taiwanese banks have supposedly been secretly working on the mainland for years.

An anonymous source told Euromoney how officials at a Taiwanese bank were sent to China to teach and train mainlanders in retail banking.

“The bank entered the mainland as early as 1999 through a ‘partnership’ with a local Chinese bank,” says the source. “But the mainland bank actually called on us for our expertise in credit card and retail banking. And we went over to try to train the bank in the banking areas that we excelled in. The venture wasn’t entirely legal at the time.”

One of the main factors to come out of ECFA has been the preferential foreign-entry requirements for Taiwanese banks. As a result, Taiwanese banks have accelerated access to the mainland market and can open up branches and eventually subsidiaries faster than their international counterparts.

However, it looks as if Taiwanese banks already had a head start.

For more in-depth news and coverage from Taiwan and the rest of Asia, don't forget to check out the April edition of Euromoney magazine

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