China’s top bankers

China’s top bankers: Day 3

The final day of our list of 30 executives who are shaping the mainland’s banking landscape.

Today we feature the final group of individuals from our list of the top 30 bankers in China.



Zhu is widely known in China as a guan er dai — the princeling son of a senior government official, former premier Zhu Rongji. In China, that is equivalent to being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. While he’s surely had advantages, Zhu has also earned respect. CICC’s growth into a Chinese investment bank with a broad and sophisticated product range owes much to Zhu. He joined in 1998, and within a decade the company’s net income and net profit grew by 16 times and 10 times, respectively. With broad investment banking expertise and strong ties with state-owned enterprises, Zhu has consistently played a leading role in a large number of landmark transactions, including the mobile assets acquisition of China Telecom, the IPOs of Sinopec, Chalco, China Telecom, China Netcom and China Life Insurance. Oddly, Zhu is a meteorologist by training, but this scientific background seems to have encouraged CICC’s research-oriented approach. Indeed, it has one of the biggest and most sophisticated equity research teams in China. Zhu also actively pushes CICC’s international development, and as a result the firm has set up offices in New York, London and Singapore, making it the first Chinese investment bank to gain such international presence.


Zhaohui Huang is CICC’s leading banker; he engineered the early restructurings and listings of large state-owned enterprises, and has also been involved on notable mergers and acquisitions, as well as landmark bond deals. When Huang joined CICC in 1998, he already had 10 years of experience working in China’s commercial banks. He was involved in ICBC’s re-organisation and later the lender’s massive $19 billion A-share plus H-share IPO in 2006, which was the first deal of its kind and the world’s biggest IPO at the time. Huang also participated in milestone IPOs of China Life, Dongfeng Automobile, Agricultural Bank of China, Everbright Bank and New China Life Insurance. Huang says that China’s economic success needs the support of dynamic domestic capital markets and investment banks — and he’s striving to deliver that.


Yicheng Xu is the architect of CICC’s M&A team. He built the bank’s M&A division from scratch and led the team to secure the top position in China M&A league tables from 2006 through 2010. His experience includes the Chinalco acquisition of a 12% stake in Rio Tinto, China Mobile’s acquisition of Paktel in Pakistan and China Mobile’s acquisition of People’s Telephone in Hong Kong. Xu also played an active role in the review, revision and drafting of regulations by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Information and Industries, and the Ministry of Commerce, making important contributions to the development of the Chinese M&A market.

In the early years of his banking career, Xu was primarily engaged in the restructuring and equity capital market transactions of Chinese telecoms companies. His notable deals include China Mobile and China Telecom’s IPOs. He also oversaw the acquisition of seven provincial operations by China Telecom (Hong Kong) from its parent group.

Goldman Sachs


Cai Jin-Yong has been involved in Chinese capital markets and merger advisory since the mid-1990s, leading many of Goldman Sachs’s key China transactions across different industries. Some of his key transactions include PetroChina’s $2.9 billion IPO in 2000, Cnooc’s $2.7 billion acquisition of a stake in a Nigerian oil block in 2006, a state grid-led consortium’s $4 billion acquisition of a Philippine power transmission concession in 2009, Agricultural Bank of China’s $22.1 billion IPO in 2010 and Sinopec’s $3.5 billion A-share convertible bond in 2011.

Further afield, Cai worked on Cnooc’s $1.5 billion acquisition of an interest in Tullow’s Ugandan assets in 2011 and Jinchuan Group’s $1.4 billion acquisition of South Africa’s Metorex in 2012.

Cai, who is a mainlander, joined Goldman Sachs in 2000 as an executive director in its advisory group.


Investors and officials look to Ha Jiming for insights into issues affecting China’s economy. You could say he sees both sides of the coin: he was the chief economist at CICC and so knows the ins and outs of how a major Chinese bank thinks. But he also worked for the IMF for more than a decade, so he knows how international agencies think too. His work at the IMF, including two years in Indonesia during the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, has given him a unique perspective on China in an interconnected global economy.


One of the firm’s few women partners in Asia, Stephanie Hui heads Goldman Sachs’s private equity business in China (and runs the Asian regional private equity business as well), overseeing investments in China for both Goldman Sachs’s offshore global funds and its domestic renminbi fund, which she helped set up and launch. Harvard-educated Hui started at Goldman in New York in 1995 and cut her teeth on some of the early China tech investments in the late 1990s. She was later heavily involved in the firm’s biggest ever investment (ICBC) and has since led investments into China Nepstar Drugstore and Hepalink Pharma, to name just a few deals. Today, she sits on the boards of nine Chinese investee companies.


Zhang Xing is one of the brains behind Goldman Sachs’s unique set-up in China — he co-founded Beijing Gao Hua Securities in 2004, which formed a joint venture with Goldman in the same year. Since then, Zhang has overseen Beijing Gao Hua’s expansion into different products and services and he also brought in international expertise through its partnership with the Wall Street firm.

Zhang’s career in the securities industry started during the late 1990s, when he left his government job to join CICC, where he worked closely with the regulator to reform China’s capital markets, including introducing follow-on offerings and the clawback mechanism in domestic initial public offerings.


Citic Securities


Wang Dongming is among the early group of “red bankers” China strived to produce to build its socialist market economy. He has led the investment banking unit of Chinese conglomerate Citic Group for more than a decade. Wang has held a series of senior positions in the state-owned entity, which was founded in 1979 and endorsed by Deng Xiaoping. Wang is the architect behind Citic Securities investing and financing projects. His strategy — accumulating resources from the sell-side, realising revenues from the buy-side and forming a cycle of mutual stimulation between the two — has proved successful. The firm stands out as China’s best all-round investment bank (in July, we awarded it China’s Best Investment Bank, Best Broker, Best Equity House and Best Bond House), surpassing its domestic competitors not only by the volume underwritten but also by its product innovation as well as the capability to deal with unprecedented complexity involved in deals. Wang has long harboured ambitions to build Citic into a global powerhouse; and the firm is one step closer to that goal after its successful listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.


Yin Ke is a veteran banker with experience and connections in both domestic and overseas capital markets. He started his career as assistant to the CEO of Shenzhen Stock Exchange when it was established in 1991, and ascended to the second seat of China’s top stockbroker. Yin is the person behind Citic’s ambition to become a heavyweight investment bank in the global market.

He played a leading role in the brokerage’s milestone investment in Credit Agricole’s Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA. Citic paid $310 million to the French bank for a 19.9% stake in CLSA, the Beijing-based broker is now waiting for regulatory approval to buy the remaining 80.1% for $942 million. The investment is supposed to provide Citic with direct access to many of the world’s largest institutional investors. If this deal is cleared, it will be the first acquisition of a foreign broker by a Chinese competitor, which is obviously a milestone for Citic and China’s investment banking sector as a whole.

Citic’s years of steady growth and its successful Hong Kong listing have been profitable: it is sitting on plenty of cash. There are many reasons to believe China’s biggest homegrown broker will gain a large foothold on the global stage, and Yin is the person to watch to check that progress.




Jiang Jianqing may be the head of China’s biggest bank, but he started out as a labourer in China’s countryside. That experience has provided fortitude and patience, just what one needs to straighten a wobbly banking giant and chair a team serving the biggest group of industrial and commercial clients.

He joined ICBC in 1984 as a clerk and climbed his way up. Thanks to his leadership, the once nearly insolvent lender has become the world’s most profitable bank, with assets on par with large Western counterparts. Indeed, in 2006 ICBC floated shares on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges via a popular $19 billion dual listing; the deal was the world’s largest IPO at the time. Jiang is not complacent. What’s clear is that he is determined to build ICBC into one of the most respected banks in the world.

Jiang has held other senior roles in China’s banking circles, which makes him a mentor for many. In short, he has changed the prospect of China’s banking industry, as well as the aspirations of blue-collar workers across China.


Lee Zhang joined ICBC in May 2010 to “follow a government call” after a 10-year stint as China chairman at Deutsche Bank. Beijing rarely summons talent from foreign institutions to fill leading posts at top banks, suggesting that Zhang has the confidence of Chinese authorities, who recognise the need for international expertise to improve China’s banks. During his time at Deutsche, Zhang gained much of his fame from ICBC’s record-breaking $19 billion IPO, for which his team at the European bank was one of the bookrunners. He also helped arrange the popular IPOs for China Life Insurance and China Shenhua Energy. Zhang was instrumental in building Deutsche Bank’s platform in China, including securing licences to conduct just about every kind of business, except for secondary equity market trading. Now he’s helping to build a world-class Chinese bank as Zhang also holds the role of the chairman of ICBC International, the investment banking arm, and vice-chairman of Standard Bank Group, in which ICBC has a 20% stake.


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