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Asia CommentTaipan

When the client really is king


China's big-shot technology companies rule the world, as Tencent made clear when it broke through the $500bn valuation mark this week. But more importantly, these firms aren’t afraid to let their bankers know it.

One such leading technology firm flexed its muscles recently, resulting in a bulge bracket bank suddenly dropping out of a jumbo loan.

A bunch of bankers were happily swilling coffee in a Shanghai lobby, having been invited there for the loan’s kick-off. Then one of them took a mysterious phone call — and subsequently failed to show at the meeting.

You see, the mystery caller was the boss of another Chinese tech company, who was furious that this bank had imprudently taken on a mandate for a rival. The banker was ordered to pull out and take the first flight back to Hong Kong, courtesy of the existing client, which he did.

Now that’s a sign of some real cut-throat competition.

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