Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) has unveiled its plans to target “longer-term opportunities” in Greater China and Southeast Asia to generate additional revenue of $2.2 billion by 2025. In an interview with CNBC, CEO Helen Wong expressed her confidence in this strategy, emphasizing the potential contribution of Greater China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to global GDP growth.
Wong highlighted the robust trade numbers between China and ASEAN over the past four years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%. This positive trend, coupled with the effects of China’s post-pandemic reopening and the rise of ASEAN in the “China plus one strategy,” has created significant opportunities for business flows between the two regions.
OCBC plans to enhance its digital customer experience and refine its customer and business acquisition processes to capitalise on these opportunities. While Wong did not provide specific details, she emphasized the bank’s presence in the top seven markets in ASEAN and its extensive network spanning 17 cities in Greater China, including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. OCBC’s partnership with the Bank of Ningbo also strengthens its position in the region.
Wong anticipated stability by addressing the bank’s outlook for the second half of 2023. The current high-interest rate environment has bolstered OCBC’s interest income, compensating for reduced fee income as investors exercise caution in the uncertain economic climate. However, Wong acknowledged that prolonged high-interest rates may impact the bank’s credit portfolio and customers’ investment activities.
As a highly rated bank in Asia, OCBC has also benefited from money inflows resulting from the collapse of regional banks in the U.S. Wong emphasized the importance of attracting new funds and retaining them by ensuring exceptional customer service and evaluating the impact of market changes on customers.
OCBC shares have seen a nearly 9% increase over the past 12 months, closing at 12.30 Singapore dollars on Monday, reflecting positive investor sentiment.
With its strategic focus on Greater China and Southeast Asia, OCBC is poised to harness the growth potential of these regions and drive additional revenue in the coming years.