Fubon Financial Holdings is considering opening 200 branches in Fujian province, the Financial Times reported. The Taiwan-based company cited improved relations with the mainland as a justification for the move. Fubon is also interested in possible mergers and acquisitions in China’s fund management industry. Fubon President Victor Kung said that the firm plans to apply for a fund management license from Beijing in the near future. Fubon owns Taiwan’s second-largest life insurer, and was one of the first Taiwan-based banks to attempt to enter the mainland market when it acquired Hong Kong-listed International Bank of Asia (IBA) in 2004. IBA went on to buy 20% of Xiamen Commercial Bank in 2008. Taiwan-based banks are still prevented from taking stakes in mainland banks directly, although they can now apply to set up subsidiaries following the signing of a cross-straits memorandum of understanding at the end of last year.
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