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Banking Asia’s global champions

The region’s ambitious corporate leaders are fast becoming among the most important clients in global investment banking. The battle for their business is fierce. Balance-sheet heft is important, but loyalty and forging close partnerships are the keys to success.

Asia’s global champions – companies with their origins in the region that enjoy growing power across the globe – are fast becoming the world’s most coveted banking clients.

For banks, doing business with these new corporate titans is not simply a supplement to historically forged and lucrative alliances with western companies. It is about cementing a place at the top table for generations to come.

As the IBMs and GMs of this century emerge from across Asia Pacific, banks are forming bonds that they hope will ensure their own long-term survival.

Winning business from these companies is not easy. Competition is fierce not just from the usual array of international banks but from increasingly powerful Asian banks that enjoy a cultural alignment with the companies that it is difficult for international banks to replicate.

"There is a generation of companies that have built up alongside us and our network and expanded with their markets. You could look at the period we are now in as globalization 2.0. You have to really know the companies in this part of the world," says Michael Zink, head of Asean and chief executive officer for Singapore at Citi.

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