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China

BEST BANK
China Merchants Bank

BEST EQUITY HOUSE
Merrill Lynch

BEST DEBT HOUSE
Morgan Stanley

BEST M&A HOUSE
Morgan Stanley

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Deciding the award for best bank in China among the big six banks would be a matter of choosing the least bad bank, given the parlous financial condition of China's state-owned banking system. Outside the big six, though, there is some hope in China Merchants Bank, winner of this year's best bank in China award. Although state-owned, China Merchants Bank is professionally managed and is generally regarded as one of the best-run banks. Headquartered in Shenzhen, southern China, the bank has grown to a network of more than 400 branches, including offices in 30 major cities in China and in Hong Kong. The bank offers customers the full range of retail and corporate banking services, including a worthwhile e-banking platform.

China Merchants Bank was listed in Shanghai more than three years ago, but rumours are now rife that it will consider an overseas listing. With comparable banks such as Bank of Communications and China Minsheng Bank receiving strong interest among international investors, it's a logical move on the part of its management.

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