SINGAPORE - In a ballroom at the posh Raffles Hotel, 300 or so venture capitalists, fund managers, and institutional investors swapped business cards over exotic dishes of sea slugs and hot and sour soup.

It was a crowd you might expect to find at a conference on risky Asian equity investments, with one possible exception: a contingent of U.S. bankers, their sights set on cashing in on the region's economic explosion.

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