J.P. Morgan & Co., once a major underwriter of Chinese bonds, is rebuilding its presence in China after a 45-year absence.
John D. Langlois, Jr., Morgan's Hong Kong-based managing director, said Morgan is expanding commercial as well as investment banking operations in China, including syndicated lending, debt and equity trading, advisory services, and risk-hedging products.
In what could prove to be a setback for the bank's plans, a Chinese news agency reported Friday that China was suspending the issuance and listing of new shares for the rest of the year, following sharp plunges of Shanghai exchange prices.
Mr. Langlois attributed much of the recent price fall to poor reporting practices and said that the pace of Morgan's growth in China will be dictated largely by he development of reliable accounting and disclosure methods.
Chinese companies are increasingly aware they will have to supply foreign investors with reliable data if they hope to raise capital on international markets, he said.
Morgan was extensively involved in underwriting Chinese government and corporate bonds in the first half of this century, but withdrew after the Communist takeover in 1949.
Morgan opened representative offices in Beijing and Shanghai this year and may open a full branch in Shanghai, Mr. Langlois said.
In an initial transaction in China in May, Morgan helped syndicate a $120 million loan for the Yangzhou Thermal Power Project.
Mr. Langlois said the bank is also stepping up its activities in brokering so-called "B" shares, or shares in Chinese companies traded in foreign currencies and sold mainly to regional investors in Southeast Asia.
Underwriting Plans, Too
Morgan hopes to boost its Chinese business further with the underwriting of two large international equity issues: one for the Dongfeng Motor Co., and the other for Xifei International, a manufacturer of aircraft and engines.
Morgan's expansion in China is part of a broader push into securities and commercial banking markets in Asia.
The bank recently set up a joint investment bank in India and is also structuring and advising on projects in Uzbekistan and Kazakstan.