Home Insider Interview with Joseph Huang President of E.SUN Financial Holding CO., Ltd. and...

Interview with Joseph Huang President of E.SUN Financial Holding CO., Ltd. and E.SUN Commercial Bank, Ltd. (E.SUN Bank)


What inspires E. SUN Bank to come to Myanmar?

We are the first Taiwanese bank to set up a branch in Myanmar and we think that we represent Taiwan. Myanmar is a beautiful country with a long history and it has a lot of potential for development. Five years ago, Myanmar opened its door to foreign investors; this year the country embrace full democracy, and the new government already announced a new Investment Law to facilitate the overall investment in Myanmar. We appreciate the political and economic environment has undergone a positive change and truly believe the country will enjoy a positive growth in a long run with the following reasons: first of all, this country has a population of over 50 million and this year GDP growth reaches 8 percent, which perform very well among ASEAN region. Moreover, the Economist UK predicts Myanmar’s GDP will reach 8 to 9 percent in the next five years. This is an outperformance for any country in the world.

Currently, E.SUN Bank, as a bank of fast growing and developing the cross-border business, sees huge potentials in 10 ASEAN member countries, Myanmar is no doubt with a very important role in our strategy. We would like to build an Asia platform for convenient financial services, and taking advantage of the development of China and ASEAN countries that are full of opportunities. Secondly, more than 200 Taiwanese businesses are already operating in Myanmar and even more customers from Taiwan ask E.SUN for advice to enter Myanmar, so we see great potential of Myanmar to become the next manufacturing base for the businesses from Taiwan. In addition, financial industry is very important to support economic development and we would like to be a part of that development by serving Taiwanese businesses and other foreign businesses as well as local businesses through cooperation with local banks. And we are honored to open our Yangon Branch.

As the only Taiwanese bank receiving the branch license in Myanmar, what will be the business plan in Myanmar for the next 3 years?

As a foreign Bank in Myanmar, we can serve 100 percent foreign companies, joint ventures and local companies through cooperation with local banks, according to the regulations. First of all, we will focus on trade finance and letter of credit as the export and import sector is booming in Myanmar. We will also help Taiwanese businessmen in Myanmar and invite more customers form Taiwan to operate in Myanmar through a series of event and seminar for introducing business opportunity and industrial connection. Secondly, we would like to serve cross-border companies as we have a total of 23 operation sites in 7 countries outside of Taiwan, which we consider a very good platform for assisting businessmen’s cross-border operation. Thirdly, we think local companies are quite important. As the country is in the initial stage of development, we think we can do a lot for the development of infrastructure. We will participate in some syndication loans. Fourthly, we will help local banks to improve their efficiency and their skills. For example, E. SUN is the number one brand for SME as well as the pioneer and front-runner in digital banking field in Taiwan. We can help local banks, which would like to develop SME banking business in Myanmar. We can also share the modern business model for developing a good digital banking experience for both customers and businesses, and even connecting both and banks to create a triple win for the development of Myanmar.

In which areas do E. SUN Bank’s expertise lie?

E. SUN is very good in SME and digital banking. We are also quite good in credit card business as well as wealth management, areas which I think will becomes very popular in the future in Myanmar after the economy is developed. Best of all, E.SUN Bank creates the best service experience for our customers to enjoy a variety of financial service all in E.SUN’s platform.

How would you evaluate Myanmar’s current SME sector with Taiwan’s early SME sector development?

I think the economic difference between Taiwan and Myanmar is about 20 to 30 years. So if we look at Myanmar, SME sector here is like the SME sector in Taiwan 20 years ago. I definitely think that Myanmar will not need to spend 20 or so years to reach the current SME level of Taiwan because Myanmar will make progress quicker. Local SMEs in Myanmar are facing the same difficulty of getting financial support at current just as their counterparts were 20 years ago in Taiwan. In our experience, Taiwan went step by step with necessary improvements, including establishing credit bureau, government guarantee fund, and clear industrial policy from the government as Taiwanese government really gave its best to develop SME sector, which lead to the world-famous Taiwanese Economic Miracle. Different countries have different government policies. For example, in Korea, they will help conglomerates such as Samsung, LG as they represent 50 percent of the GDP. So, their policy focuses on developing huge conglomerate. But in Taiwan, it is totally different. We think that developing SMEs will be a great help in wealth distribution and to increase the employment opportunity. So we think that government SME policy is very important.

How will E. SUN differentiate itself from other foreign banks in Myanmar? What are your competitive strategies? I think E. SUN is quite famous for its customer service quality. We hire a lot of Myanmar staff whether they maybe fresh graduates or already experienced. However, we provide professional training to everyone to sharpen his or her skills in providing customer best banking experience. While they are happy that training benefits their personal development, they serve the customers well. We think it is very important to cultivate our employees. In Taiwan, we are number one in service quality and we received a lot of awards for that, including the National Quality Award of Taiwan. E.SUN is the first bank to receive the award, and we are proud of or service. In addition, we think innovation is quite vital because the fast development of modern technology and the needs and wants of customers will change along with the developing trend. Finally, I would like to say banking industry is quite unique as most of our capital and funding for business comes from the general public, say only 90 percent of the operating funds comes from the customers and only 10 percent comes from the shareholders. So, if a bank is successful, it is because the society supports the bank. So I think corporate social responsibility is important and we also rank number one in CSR in Taiwan. So we will bring that spirit to Myanmar as well.

Is there any increase in the investment coming from Taiwan businesses into Myanmar? If so, how will E. Sun serve their regional financial needs?

Certainly, we see more and more Taiwanese businessmen ask for information of investment in Myanmar and we invite them to have a visit to Yangon and our branch. Currently, Taiwanese businessmen invest mostly in middle and southern China, but there has been a lot of policy change and salary raises year by year in China. So, they are thinking of investing in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, especially Myanmar since the country has a huge base of labor force in terms of populations. I think with the new Investment Law, when the government policy becomes sure and they can provide a better and more secured environment for foreign investment, including Taiwanese businessmen, there will be more investments coming into Myanmar from Taiwan.

What is E. SUN regional development plan and how will E. Sun Yangon Branch fit in that plan?

First of all, E.SUN Bank would like to enhance the overall performance through advanced service and better service quality, which we can accomplish it by providing unique banking experience to our customers. Secondly, we would like to develop with a focus in Asia market since the economic and trading activities in Asia is booming. Finally, We would also like to build up the Asian platform of financial service to be compatible with the strong business model of Taiwan businessmen expanding overseas for the enhancement of scale and competitiveness. It can also apply to the regional companies, which located in any country where E.SUN Bank has a presence. And Yangon plays a very important role in our plan considering the business pattern and strategy of our target customers.

From a business standpoint, what are the biggest challenges for E. SUN in next 1-3 years?

The challenge but also the great opportunity for E.SUN, I think is building up cross-border platform since all countries have different regulations, different cultures, different policies and different requirements. I think we will face challenges in handling different requirements and culture differences when trying to perfect the cross-border service. As for Yangon branch specifically, there are some challenges concerning information and technology. However, we are confident that we can conquer the challenges and turn them into great opportunities for our bank.

What advice would you give to a foreign company who is looking up to start up a business and invest in Myanmar?

If anyone likes to enter Myanmar, they have to understand the legal framework first since everyone has to obey the law. Since the legal frame of Myanmar is being developed at the moment, hiring a capable consultant to understand the laws and business practice is a good idea. They also need to understand the local market and local culture. Finally, I would like to advice them to focus on both gaining profits and doing good things for the society, which is a balance for building a sustainable base for growth in this beautiful land of gold.[/paypal]