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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  28 April 2014  

First Bank obtains FSC approval to open Laos branch

First Commercial Bank, the flagship banking arm of First Financial Holding Co., has obtained the green light from the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to open a branch in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

First Bank said it will seek approval from financial authorities in Laos to open the branch as soon as possible. The Vientiane branch could be the first foothold established in Laos by a Taiwan bank.

Since 1998 when Laos joined the ASEAN Investment Area, a free trade zone in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, foreign funds have been flooding into the country, creating plenty of business opportunities there, the bank said.

With the establishment of its Vientiane branch, First Bank said, it will provide a wide range of services to Taiwanese and Chinese investors operating in the Southeast Asian country.

Like its branch in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Vientiane branch will target small and medium-sized enterprises in a bid to lock in profits in the emerging economy, the bank said.

The banking sector in Laos tends to offer a relatively large interest spread, which could boost banks' bottom lines, according to First Bank.

First Bank has a broad network in Asia, with branches and representatives offices in about 10 Asian cities, including Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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