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Foreign and local banks battle for China’s golden generation

The private banking industry is coming of age in China, as the number of new millionaires in the country rockets. Foreign and local banks are rushing to offer them wealth management services. Clients have sky-high expectations, and meeting them will be tough.

"I HAVE TWO clients who to me illustrate the extremes we’re dealing with in China," says an experienced private banker in the country. "One has hundreds of millions of dollars, is as sharp a businessman as you’ll find, but when he buys a stock in the morning he’s really worried if it’s down by a dollar that afternoon. There’s no stomach for any kind of loss. The other one has got much less money, but he has an economics degree, he does his macro reading and if I call to say a stock’s down 2% he’ll say ‘so what?’"

For the new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs who have made millions from starting their own companies, and those who have won wealth through top positions at prospering state-owned firms, the next challenge is preserving and growing their suddenly acquired assets.

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