Taiwan-based Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank Ltd plans to open a representative office in Cambodia, joining an increasing number of Taiwanese banks and garment industry investors in the Kingdom.
National Bank of Cambodia director-general Nguon Sokha said yesterday that the Taipei-based privately held bank had preliminary or “in-principle” approval on May 31.
Some banks establish representative offices to test the waters before making a decision on opening an actual branch. The point is to “gather information about the Cambodian economy . . . they observe the performance, [but it is] for their own use”, she said.
Shanghai Commercial & Savings would enter a crowded sector, behind other Taiwanese-based financial intuitions. Hua Nan Commercial Bank said last month that it would open a branch in Cambodia, hoping to capitalise on the country’s high number of Taiwanese investors and high interest rates.
Cambodia has “many Taiwanese companies, especially in the shoe and garment industry”, senior manager of the bank’s international banking department, Chris Lee, told the Post last month.
In September 2011, Taiwan’s Mega International Commercial Bank opened a local branch, followed by the March 2013 entry of Taiwan Cooperative Bank. That same month, Taiwan’s E Sun Commercial Bank announced plans to acquire a 70 per cent stake in Cambodia’s Union Commercial Bank for nearly $70 million.
Shanghai Commercial & Savings did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The bank’s website says that regulators in Taiwan approved the Cambodia office in January.
A share of Taiwanese investment in Cambodia flows into the garment industry. Taiwanese-owned Sabrina Garment factory, which supplies Nike, fired hundreds of workers on Saturday following violent protests and the arrest of unionists.
Taiwanese-owned garment factories Grand Twins International (Cambodia) Plc and TY Fashion are expected to become the first foreign-owned companies to list on Cambodia’s stock exchange.
Additional reporting by Mak Lawrence Li