This Is How We'll Drive Our China Business: OCBC CEO
The CEO of OCBC, which posted a record profit on Friday, said the bank would focus on growing its offshore activities in Greater China as more Chinese firms look to expand overseas.
"We'll be pursuing those companies in China, but we would really like them to bank with us when they go outside of China to invest in key countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, [where] we have a competitive edge to pursue that strategy," Samuel Tsien, the CEO of Southeast Asia's second biggest lender, told CNBC.
The real target for the Singapore bank's future growth in China will be growing "with the business that will be generated as these companies go offshore," Tsien said.
OCBC on Friday posted a 12 percent jump in fourth-quarter net profit to $537 million, pushing its 2012 net profit up by 73 percent, compared with $480 million a year earlier. OCBC also saw profit before taxes in Greater China rise by 35 percent year-on-year to $213.6 million.
(Read more: OCBC Posts 12% Jump in Profit, Beating Forecasts)
Greater China currently contributes over 7 percent of the bank's profits worldwide and Tsien said he expects the number to rise in 2013.
Loans in Greater China, however, fell 13 percent in 2012 from the previous year and moves by China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, to liberalize interest rates impacted OCBC's margins, Tsien said.
Last week, bigger rival DBS posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $613.5 million, below expectations, while its Greater China business recorded a net loss of $23 million in the same quarter.
—By CNBC.com's Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani; Follow her on Twitter