Proponents see big opportunities for Taiwan in this nascent space. Virtual currency fever swept the globe over the past year, peaking when Bitcoin’s value hit US$19,500 in December. Since that zenith, the preeminent cryptocurrency’s value has plummeted to just $10,000, illustrating its extreme volatility. Bitcoin is the best known cryptocurrency, but over a thousand have…

Banks remain cautious about embracing full-throated digitization. Customers of Taiwan’s domestic banks sometimes feel like they’re in a time warp. Basic savings accounts often are not automatically equipped with online banking – customers have to request that service. And in many cases, the standard means of tracking account activity is a passbook that must be…

Taiwan aims to pursue financial technology innovation, but over-regulation continues to block the needed experimentation and flexibility. Technological advances are increasingly transforming every aspect of financial services, a phenomenon that has given rise to the term “fintech,” short for financial technology. In Taiwan, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) in 2015 established a Fintech Office to…

When is a foreign bank not a foreign bank? Answer: When it establishes a domestic subsidiary. Between 2007 and 2013, five leading international banks – Standard Chartered, Citi, HSBC, DBS, and ANZ – received approval from the financial authorities to expand their presence in Taiwan’s retail banking market by taking over the operations of local…

New York regulators’ fining of Mega Bank last year for lax compliance practices was a wake-up call. In a victory for the nation’s regulators, Taiwan in July was removed from a regional list of countries judged to have insufficient money-laundering controls. Taiwan had spent months revising legislation and pushing its financial institutions to crack down…