American investment bank Goldman Sachs is seeking to tap the rich in Japan by expanding its wealth management operations to the country.

The bank has already begun hiring private bankers towards that goal, reported Bloomberg citing a person with knowledge of the issue.

The bank is reportedly anticipating assets under management of JPY1 trillion ($9bn) in the next five to 10 years.

According to Nikkei, the new venture in Japan will prioritise individuals having minimum assets of JPY10bn.

The move is said to be in response to Japan’s booming wealth population.

In this context, Bloomberg cited Credit Suisse Group’s 2019 Global Wealth Report that ranks Japan as the country with the third-highest number of millionaires. Japan is preceded by the US and China in this regard, says the report.

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The latest news further highlights Goldman Sachs’ focus on the Asia Pacific market.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that the bank plans to double its employee headcount in China to 600 over the next five years.

The bank is reportedly in talks with the wealth management arm of ICBC to launch a majority-owned joint venture (JV) in China.

In its first-ever investor day presentation announced at the end of last month, Goldman Sachs said that it plans to increase its advisory workforce in the Asia Pacific by 50%.

However, the Japan wealth market is not devoid of challenges that have resulted in the exit of foreign players such as HSBC and Citigroup from the market.

Notably, last year, UBS and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Trust announced a wealth management JV targeted at Japan’s wealthy. UBS will be the majority stakeholder in the JV.