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Taiwan’s Fubon reported as favorite to take over Citibank’s consumer assets in China

Citibank to focus on investment banking in several Asian countries

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Taiwan's Fubon looks like the frontrunner to buy Citibank's consumer operations in China. (Facebook, Fubon Financial photo) 

Taiwan's Fubon looks like the frontrunner to buy Citibank's consumer operations in China. (Facebook, Fubon Financial photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Citibank sells off its consumer banking business in several Asian countries, Taiwan’s Fubon Financial Holding Co., Ltd. has emerged as the frontrunner to take over the assets in China, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday (Dec. 7).

The American financial company announced earlier this year it was considering divesting several consumer retail banking units in a range of countries in order to focus on more profitable businesses, such as investment banking.

According to the report, Citibank had selected Fubon as its “preferred bidder” for the assets in China, with a deal likely to bring in between US$100 million (NT$2.77 billion) and US$200 million.

The sale of Citibank’s consumer banking assets in Taiwan might take longer to organize, Bloomberg reported, without mentioning whether Fubon was involved in the Taiwan deal. A representative for Fubon did not comment.

People familiar with Citibank’s plans for Asia said the company had not reached a final decision yet, with discussions continuing and other bidders still interested in the various Asian markets, per Bloomberg.

Preferred bidders in other countries included Standard Chartered PLC in Malaysia; Singapore’s United Overseas Bank in Indonesia; and the Japanese-owned Bank of Ayudhya, also known as Krungsri Bank in Thailand. None of the banks named in the article commented on the report.

The Fubon business empire is run by brothers Richard and Daniel Tsai, named by Forbes Magazine as the third-richest business people in Taiwan. Apart from running Taipei Fubon Bank, the group also has interests in insurance, telecom, and media.