AP News

Abu Dhabi bank plans aggressive expansion in Asia


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The National Bank of Abu Dhabi launched its commercial banking operations in Malaysia on Monday, and will also debut in Shanghai this week as part of its expansion in Asia.

Senior General Manager for international banking, Qamhar Ali Al Mulla, said the United Arab Emirates' top lender was a latecomer in Asia with its first branch launched in Hong Kong just three years ago.

He said the bank will launch an office in Shanghai, its first to tap China's mass market, on Wednesday and is eyeing to acquire a bank in Indonesia.

"We have ambitious plans for Asia. Asia is a priority for us," he told The Associated Press. "Indonesia is a key market and we are looking at acquiring a bank. If there is an opportunity, we will grab it."

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi said it is the most profitable bank in the UAE, with a presence in 14 countries across the world.

Al Mulla said the bank aims to expand its presence to around 41 countries in the next decade. International banking now contributes about 16 percent to the bank's profit, but is expected to rise up to 30 percent by 2022, he said.

In Malaysia, the bank said it has invested 310 million ringgit ($101 million) to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Bank officials said the lender aims to establish up to 50 branches in Malaysia over the next decade and seek a license to tap the fast growing Islamic banking sector.


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