Chinese investors are rushing to open accounts with Korean banks on Jeju Island

Updated : 2014-05-09 17:15

Chinese investors eye Jeju Island

By Yi Whan-woo
Chinese investors are rushing to open accounts with Korean banks on Jeju Island.
Real estate developers from the world’s second-largest economy are attracted by a series of land development projects on Korea’s southernmost resort island.
According to the latest data from five major lenders ― Shinhan Bank, Kookmin Bank, Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), Woori Bank and Hana Bank ― deposits by Chinese customers at their Jeju offices increased more than twofold between 2012 and March.
KEB said deposits from Chinese customers at its two offices on the island totaled 260.8 billion won ($254.8 million) in March, up from 4.3 billion won in 2012.
During the same period, the number of Chinese corporate clients went up from nine to 43, while the number of Chinese private clients increased from 10 to 311, the lender added.
Woori Bank said it had 100 Chinese clients at its Jeju branches, who deposited a total of 196.9 billion won in March. In December 2011, it had 82 customers, who deposited a total of 151.5 billion won.
“We think this increase took place as more wealthy private Chinese investors began taking part in the land development projects here and then became permanent residents in Korea,” a KEB spokesman who declined to be named said.
He said the foreign residency policy on Jeju Island issues permanent residency status to non-Koreans who purchase apartments or condominiums worth over 500 million won and reside there for more than five years. He, however, refrained from giving the total amount of deposits by its private Chinese customers.
Kookmin Bank expressed a similar view.
“Our six branches on Jeju Island has seen a rapid rise in the number of Chinese customers and the amount of their deposits for the past few years, although we can’t reveal the figures,” a bank spokesman said.
“A series of real estate development projects on the island have begun since the second half of last year, prompting Chinese customers who purchase properties there to also open bank accounts and make investments on the island.”
Shinhan Bank said private Chinese customers at its three Jeju offices deposited a total of 2.3 billion won in March, up from 1.2 billion won in 2012 and 2 billion won last year.
Hana Bank said deposits by its corporate and private customers from China have risen to 56.3 billion won since it opened its first branch on the island in September.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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