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Surviving the Asian typhoon

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The Chinese year of the ox, which came to an end last month, was full of shocks and surprises for Asia's banking world. The big shock was the 50% profit decline for the state-owned Bank of China, previously regarded as one of mainland China's most solid institutions. The big surprise was Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank (SCSB) and its showing as the top performer in Euromoney's new emerging-market bank (Emba) rating, published for the first time last September. This medium-sized, privately owned commercial bank was almost unknown outside Taiwan.

The downturn at the Bank of China is being interpreted as a warning that China may not be immune from the economic pressures that have overtaken the rest of Asia. The outstanding results at SCSB are being seen as additional evidence that Taiwan has the resilience to weather the current Asian typhoon.

Incorporated in Shanghai in 1915 and re-opened in Taiwan in 1965, SCSB has total assets of NT$258 billion ($7.6

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