As part of the movement to gain a slice of China's banking market, Cathay General Bancorp, the parent of Cathay Bank, said Friday that it has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in Shanghai-based First Sino Bank for roughly $52.2 million.


Cathay said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the stake will make it the largest shareholder of First Sino. It will have the right to appoint two members to the bank's board.


First Sino's second-largest shareholder is the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China's ninth-largest commercial bank with roughly $30 billion in assets.


The investment is subject to regulatory approval from the China Bank Regulatory Commission and banking regulators in the U.S.


First Sino earned a profit of $4.1 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2004, and has assets of roughly $630 million.

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