Deutsche Bank has hired Peter Tsao, former head of regional technology research at ING Barings, to help win new business from Asia's semiconductor, computer, and contract manufacturing companies.

Tsao, 37, was appointed managing director and head of technology hardware, a new position created to help Deutsche Bank compete for technology business with the big US investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

Before joining Deutsche Bank Tsao worked at ING Barings, first managing the Taiwan equity team, then heading up its regional technology research team. He was recently named head of ING Baring's regional technology corporate finance division and was set to take up the job in September. Deutsche Bank poached him before he even started.

"Having looked at the different technology platforms, I feel that Deutsche Bank's is a lot more compelling because it has a strong US franchise through Alex Brown," Tsao says. "To do technology well in Asia you have to have a strong US base because a lot of companies in Asia sell to US customers."

Tsao's appointment is part of a broader effort by Deutsche Bank to beef up its Asian operations. Tsao will initially manage a team of five. He plans to double that within a year. The team will focus on winning business from technology hardware companies in Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and, to a lesser extent, China.

"While we have been successful in using our global strengths to serve technology clients in Asia, we are seeking to extend that strength locally," says Philip Crotty, Deutsche Bank's head of corporate finance.

Tsao, who was born in Taiwan and raised in New York City, brings to Deutsche Bank a mixture of regional knowledge and US investment banking expertise. Before joining Barings, he was for six years global technology analyst for the New York-based College Retirement Equity Fund, the world's biggest private pension fund, with some $300 billion assets under management. He thinks that experience will stand him in good stead in his new job.

"The banking environment in Asia, particularly in technology, is very quickly becoming Americanized," he says. "Going forward, relationships with customers will be based more on your capabilities than on your relationships."

Tsao, who will be based in Hong Kong, will also seek out new business from companies in Taiwan, for which Deutsche Bank does not have a dedicated group. The eight dedicated groups in the bank's corporate finance division cover Telecommunications, Media, Software, Hardware, Real Estate, Financial Institutions, Financial Sponsors and Utilities/Transportation/Project Finance.

"There's no reason why Deutsche Bank can't be one of the biggest players in Asia," Tsao says. "It has the technology platform of Alex Brown and a balance sheet that can support it."