Friday, December 31, 2010

Vietnamese banks rushing to neighbouring markets

VietNamNet Bridge – Five Vietnamese commercial banks have been setting their presence in foreign countries, especially neighbouring markets.

Foreign markets are now the targets

The fact that Vietnamese commercial banks have been trying to go abroad is not difficult to understand. some experts even say that it is a bit late to think of conquering the neighbouring markets now. The experts said that even Vietnam, a newly emerging market, has had the presence of foreign banks for the last 100 years.

By 2010, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has been present in Vietnam for 140 years, since it set its foot on Vietnam in 1870. This shows that foreign banks have been following their multi-national operation strategy for a long time.

As for Vietnamese banks, in recent years, the plans to open representative offices, branches and then 100 percent Vietnamese banks in foreign countries remain uncommon

One month after obtaining the investment license, in late December, Military Bank officially set up its branch in Laos. The bank’s plan to go abroad with the initial investment capital of $12 million is the move, following the move by the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam BIDV, Sacombank, and Agribank. Sources said that Vietinbank makes similar plans.

The common destinations of the banks are the ASEAN member countries. Besides, banks are also targeting some other developed markets. Besides the presence made already in Laos and Cambodia, Sacombank is planning to enter Myanmar with the plan submitted to the shareholders’ meeting. Experts say that the markets that Vietnamese banks are eyeing are the financial markets in the first stage of development, thus promising great opportunities. In Laos and Cambodia, the capital market has gradually taken shape, while the stock market has recently opened.

2010 is a special year for Sacombank. The two branches in Laos and Cambodia now can bring profit. In early November, Sacombank Securities Company got the operation license in Cambodia. BIC, the insurer owned by BIDV, has also earned a turnover from the insurance joint venture with Laos. As for Military Bank, the preparation works have been arranged by its strategic partner – Viettel. It would not be a surprise if in the near future Thang Long Securities Company, a member of Military Bank, will also be present on the market.

Is it too late?

Vietnamese banks seem to be later than other foreign banks in making their presence in the markets. This has been explained by the fact that it is not easy to go abroad. Vietnamese banks have to meet a lot of requirements. Sacombank, for example, has to delay its plan to set up business in China because of the high technical barriers in the country.

However, experts believe that Vietnamese banks still have opportunities in then market. Though having limited operation scale, the markets are still believed to presenthigh potentials. It is not by chance that the banks from other countries like China and South Korea, are also eyeing the market, a source from Military Bank said

Viettel, a telecom company has been very successful in Laos and Cambodia. It is now leading the Lao market and ranks second in Cambodia. “Early birds can catch worms,” experts say.

Source: Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam

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