BEIJING - China said Thursday it had authorized four Taiwanese banks to open branches on the mainland, the first time banks from the island have been given permission to do so.
The move is part of efforts by the former arch rivals to foster closer cooperation in the sector.
The applications of Land Bank of Taiwan, First Commercial Bank, Chang Hwa Bank and Taiwan Cooperative Bank were approved, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said in a statement on its website.
The CBRC also said it had granted permission to Bank of China, Bank of Communications and China Merchants Bank to set up representative offices in Taiwan.
Bank of China and Bank of Communications have submitted applications to Taiwan's financial regulatory agency, the commission said.
Last year, the neighbors signed a package of agreements on better cooperation in banking, insurance and securities, which went into effect in January.
The agreements are eventually expected to make it easier for Taiwanese and Chinese banks to buy each other's assets and to make it possible for Chinese investors to buy shares on the Taiwanese stock market.
China still considers Taiwan part of its territory, even though the island has governed itself since the end of a civil war in 1949.
But ties between the two sides have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang came to power in Taiwan in 2008, pledging to beef up trade links and allow in more Chinese tourists.