ANZ has announced a credit card joint venture with Sacombank in Vietnam, a market that is expected to undergo significant growth in the medium term. Given Vietnam's encouraging economic projections and the very small proportion of the population currently using banking services, this is positive strategic move by ANZ.
GE Consumer Finance is to buy a $100 million stake in Shenzhen Development Bank, subject to the approval of Chinese regulatory authorities. The move is just one of the many strategic alliances contracted by foreign banks with local banks in China in 2005. The opening-up of the Chinese banking sector presents bountiful opportunities for western firms, provided they make their investments carefully.
While considered to be the most domestically focused of the big Australian banks, CBA recently announced plans to speed up expansion in the fast-growing Indonesian market. Unlike its other big Asian presence in China, its operations in Indonesia focus on SMEs and the mass affluent, a combination that will stand it in good stead with the local wealthy.
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