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China looking for bilingual bankers

Chinese demand has already fueled booms in markets from copper to shipping, but the rise of the world’s fastest growing economy is also driving up prices for another hot commodity: bilingual bankers.

Banks are struggling to find enough candidates with fluent Mandarin and English to accommodate their expansion plans in China, which is poised to leapfrog Hong Kong as Asia’s biggest center for initial public offerings. Securing banking talent in China has been a problem for years, but the matter is more pressing than ever with the country starting to spend its $1.33 trillion of foreign currency reserves on overseas deals. Hedge funds and private equity firms, which are starting to source deals in China, are also poaching bankers from Wall Street, making the hunt for talent even tougher.

After China’s decades of isolation from global trade, English is not widely spoken, and few non-Chinese master the notoriously difficult language. „There are people who understand the product and people who understand the people, but a dearth of those who understand both,” said Adrian Ezra, chief executive of international financial recruitment firm Execuzen. „Demand outstrips supply 10-to-1,” he said. „If you are a senior or even a junior Chinese specialist, you can practically write your own ticket.” (themoscowtimes)