(Bloomberg) -- Cathay Financial Holding Co., Taiwan’s largest financial firm by assets, is hiring more staff in Singapore to follow shifting regional money flows as its clients expand their presence in Southeast Asia. 

The group’s Cathay United Bank Co. is ramping up headcount in the city-state to around 200 by 2025, from 100 two years ago, said Winfield Wong, Chief Executive Officer of the bank’s Singapore unit. Recent additions include relationship managers for corporate clients that are expanding in the region, as well as private bankers, he said.

The growth plan underscores how Singapore and its neighbors are benefiting as US-China tensions prompt companies to diversify investments and manufacturing throughout Southeast Asia. 

“There’s huge outbound investment flows as a result of supply-chain diversification,” Wong said in an interview. 

Taiwan’s Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp. and NXP Semiconductors NV are teaming up to build a $7.8 billion chip wafer plant in Singapore, the companies have said. Foxconn Technology Co., a major supplier to Apple Inc., is among firms adding plants in Vietnam.

Cathay Financial Holdings, controlled by the billionaire Tsai family, is a financial conglomerate whose holdings span insurance, asset management and brokerage. Tsai Hong-Tu, whose net worth totals $5.3 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is its chairman. 

This year, the Taiwanese bank is looking to add more staff in information technology, risk, transaction management and capital solutions, Wong said. 

Cathay United Bank operates in nine Southeast Asian markets. The lender’s private-bank assets under management in Singapore doubled to several hundred million dollars since the business started there in 2020, Wong said. The minimum threshold for an account is around $2 million.

Wong himself is among the recent hires. The Singaporean joined Cathay in February 2023, after more than 12 years at HSBC Holdings Plc, where he rotated around Hong Kong, Vietnam and the city-state. He has also worked at Citigroup Inc. and ANZ Group Holdings Ltd.

China was once the top destination for Taiwanese investors and accounted for 84% of Taiwan’s foreign direct investment at its peak in 2010. That dropped last year to 11%, and lagged behind a group including India, Australia and Southeast Asia for the second year in a row.

Taiwan’s banking sector’s total exposure to the mainland has contracted for 12 consecutive quarters and reached the lowest ever in the first three months this year, according to data from the self-governing island’s Financial Supervisory Commission.

--With assistance from Gao Yuan.

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