Well-regarded China watcher Li Hui is to join Societe Generale (SG) as its head of China research.

She previously held the same position at DLJ, but left after it merged with CSFB. Prior to that she was at WI Carr where she ranked third in the China category of Institutional Investor magazine's Asian research poll.

Hui's hire is a further signal of the fact that China is the flavour of the month, and that everyone is trying to get their China strategy right.

With her background, she ought to be able to build a credible research effort in China. Moreover, her ability to produce balanced, untainted research should be aided by the fact that SG does not have any big privatization mandates in China.

She will report to Philip Mok, the head of Greater China research, who says: "The opportunity for SG to recruit someone of Li Hui's calibre and experience increases the value we bring to clients in the region. Her experience not only improves the depth of analysis we offer in China, but also enables our clients to benefit from having access to research produced by someone who truly understands China."

In related SG news, the company has closed its Australian corporate finance unit which resulted in 22 job cuts.