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HSBC considers China bank bid

HSBC is considering a bid for a major Chinese bank to reinforce its presence in the country as other foreign lenders retrench, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Telegraph said HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, wants to buy a majority stake in one of China's big three lenders - ICBC, Bank of China, or China Construction Bank.

Any deal would have to wait until China relaxes current rules limiting foreign banks' stake in local lenders to 20%, and is expected to involve an asset swap with HSBC's Hong Kong operation, as well as the sale of its holding in China's Bank of Communications, the paper said.

HSBC's global head of strategy, Antonio Simoes, has moved from London to Hong Kong to help prepare for a possible bid, joining chief executive Mike Geoghegan, the Telegraph added.

HBSC declined to comment. (Reuters)