In a bold move to boost its mainland investment banking operations, ABN AMRO has announced the hire of Qiu Zhizhong as vice chairman of the bank in Asia and chairman of ABN AMRO, China. Both posts were created specially for him. He will be based in Hong Kong and answer to Asia CEO, Jeroen Drost.

Answering to him will be James Pearson and Linda Wong, who head up commercial and consumer banking in China respectively, both with the title of MD.

Qiu used to be MD and Chairman at Credit Suisse in the 1990s before setting up his own firm, Q Capital. He has spent five years in China working on M&A advisory, principal investment and private equity and reportedly has a wide network of contacts.

Some observers speculate that the Dutch bank is using the hire to take aim at private equity and principal investment, given the boom in the sector. Qiu will complement ABNÆs already healthy M&A advisory service, which recently saw the bank advise Chinese electrical appliance maker Gome on the buy-in by Warburg Pincus. The bank also advised SAB Miller during its takeover attempt of Harbin Brewery two years ago.

Sources close to the bank say that the hope is that the industry experience Qiu has gained in China over the past few years running his own firm will combine with his investment banking experience to bring valuable strategic input to ABN.

Qiu will remain chairman of Q Capital, but day-to-day management of the firm will be carried out by CEO Cathy Zhang, a well regarded former Hong Kong banker. Qiu has degrees in computer sciences from NYU, electrical engineering at Cooper Union University, a further degree from Ohio State University and a Harvard MBA.