|Kim Hyun-chul, center, a Presidential economic adviser, center, raises his fist with chief executives of banks ahead of their meeting in Seoul, Friday to discuss expansion in Southeast Asia. Courtesy of Korea Federation of Banks|
By Park Hyong-ki
The government will establish support centers in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand to help local financial companies enter those markets, according to Kim Hyun-chul, an economic adviser to President Moon Jae-in, Friday.
In a meeting with chief executives of banks in Seoul, Kim said it will do so as requested by the companies, which find it hard to penetrate those markets.
Kim is also the chairman of a Presidential committee focusing on boosting economic ties between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India
"I understand that the banks need a place or building in Indonesia where they can stay and do business there; and it is very difficult to enter Thailand," Kim said at the meeting.
"Thus, they need state assistance."
He added thousands of manufacturers are setting up their regional bases in Southeast Asia, and financial companies need to go there too.
Kim praised Shinhan Bank's success in Vietnam, and KEB Hana Bank's accomplishments in Indonesia.
Shinhan Bank Vietnam is the biggest foreign-invested bank there. KB Kookmin Bank is seeking to advance into Myanmar's housing development market, he noted.
There are 436 bank branches overseas, and almost 40 percent of them are located in Southeast Asia.
The country's exports to Vietnam are expected to surpass the trade volume with Europe by 2020, he said, noting the market's importance.
He asked for their efforts in establishing further ties with ASEAN nations, which are emerging as the country's new growth market.
The government will also aim to support banks create regional ecosystems through ties with financial tech (fintech) startups both at home and abroad.
The regulator is currently moving to further relax rules enabling lenders to acquire fintech startups.