SINGAPORE – The United Overseas Bank (UOB), a major banking organization headquartered in Singapore, predicts a growth in the number of firms investing in Southeast Asia, Channel News Asia reported.

UOB based its projections on the number of its clients that doubled last year. UOB set up the Foreign Direct Investment Advisory Unit to address the needs of companies seeking to invest in the region.

The report quoted Sam Cheong, Executive Director and Head of the Group FDI Advisory Unit, as saying that customers believe in the long-term economic prosperity of the region.

As a result, the demand for cross-border banking expertise in Southeast Asia has led to our FDI client base doubling in the last year,” said Cheong told Channel News Asia.

Meanwhile, UOB announced that it is offering onshore financing to Rangoon Excelsior Company Limited, a French-Myanmar joint venture, for it to refurbish a new hotel in Yangon.

This is the first onshore loan announced by a foreign bank in Myanmar since the country awarded foreign bank licences to nine international banks in October 2014.

UOB, which opens its Yangon branch this week, will focus on providing corporate loans, trade and project financing and cash management solutions to its regional and global companies expanding into Myanmar.

The Bank will support clients investing in industries that will help the long-term economic growth of the country.

Mr Ian Wong, Managing Director and Head of Strategy and International Management, UOB Group said the hospitality sector has been identified by UOB as one of the key industries the Bank will focus on as it expands its business in Myanmar.

“The financing of a new hotel in Yangon is in line with our approach of supporting businesses that are helping to drive the development of Myanmar. As tourism is expected to be a main contributor of new jobs in Myanmar over the next decade, we are keen to partner companies such as Rangoon Excelsior in helping to build the necessary tourism infrastructure to support the growth of this sector,” Mr Wong said. –