Shinhan’s Kazakhstan consumer credit arm opensShinhan Card has become the first Korean card company to expand into an overseas market. Shinhan said yesterday it had opened Shinhan Finance on Wednesday in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. The company invested 5 billion won ($4.4 million) in the project and plans to increase that capital to 10 billion won by early next year.
The new office will focus on providing automobile and consumer electronics installment payments.
The Korean credit card issuer has already signed a strategic alliance in Kazakhstan with several automobile dealerships, including Astana Motors, the distributor of Hyundai Motor in the country, and Allur Auto, which sells Ssangyong and Toyota vehicles
The credit card company said it plans to expand its business lines in September, when it will begin offering small unsecured loans.
According to the Korean financial group, the retail finance market in Kazakhstan last year amounted to about 2 trillion won in installment financing and 6 trillion won in unsecured lending. It said annual growth in the market was in double digits.
“We concluded that it was more profitable to set up our own company in an emerging market with potential growth such as Kazakhstan than to seek a merger or an acquisition,” said Wi Sung-ho, the Shinhan Card CEO. “We will proceed with our localization by focusing on providing additional strategic products and services that are designed for the needs of customers in Kazakhstan.
“We plan to expand into Southeast Asia after the successful launch in Kazakhstan.”
The Shinhan Financial Group’s flagship Shinhan Bank entered the Kazakhstani market for the first time in late 2008.
BY LEE HO-JEONG[email@example.com]
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