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Indonesian bank solves MUFG's Southeast Asian puzzle

Japanese megalender sees region's most populous country as strategic hub

This Bank Danamon branch in Jakarta serves as one of 1,859 locations in Indonesia.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's sequential takeover of Bank Danamon, Indonesia's fifth-largest commercial bank, illustrates how the Japanese multinational plans to transform its Southeast Asian outposts into a regional empire.

MUFG embarked on previous purchases in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, but President Nobuyuki Hirano publicly identified Indonesia as the next investment target. The country's 260 million people make it the most populous in Southeast Asia, and the economic growth rate remains steadily high around 5%.

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