PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world's largest professional service firms and the largest of the Big Four auditing firms, stated Monday that foreign banks in China may speed up their pace of acquisitions over the next several years, as Chinese-funded banks are becoming more competitive in branch network and loan pricing.
To some extent, China's stimulus package plan makes Chinese-funded banks more competitive, and equipped with adequate capitals with numerous branches and a wide range of business, said Mervyn Jacob, PwC's financial services leader for Hong Kong & Chinese mainland.
Acquisitions will help foreign banks to expand the scale of their products and services as well as enlarge their customer base in China, said Chris Chan, a partner at PwC who also stated that equity investments in the city's commercial banks are also predicted to continue.
Parent companies of foreign banks are recovering from the financial crisis, which will offer foreign banks in China enough money for acquisitions, added Chan.
According to an investigation made by PwC, of the 41 foreign banks in China, about 32 banks plan to make acquisitions in China in the next three years. Asset management companies, securities and insurance firms, and companies in the rural banking sector are possible targets for foreign banks.
But foreign banks also face challenges, for China permits them to own up to 20 percent equity interest in local banks and can not own shares for more than two banks at any one time.