Credit Suisse is targeting the second generation of successful entrepreneurs on the mainland for its private-banking business in Asia, where the number of millionaires is rising faster than in the rest of the world. Of the Swiss bank's more than 4,000 private bankers, about 360 are based in Singapore and Hong Kong to service the bank's fast-growing Asian clientele, in particular those on the mainland and in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. 'In Asia, we will make geographically focused efforts. We can't be everywhere in Asia. It's simply too big,' Francesco de Ferrari, Credit Suisse's Asia-Pacific head of private banking, told the South China Morning Post yesterday. 'There's a lot of wealth in Asia but accessibility is an issue. The market potential is substantial and we want to quantify Asia's opportunity,' he said. Unlike some Wall Street banks, private banking is a long-time core business for Credit Suisse, contributing about 45 per cent of group revenue in the first quarter. Besides China - the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan - and Southeast Asia, the bank's two top private-banking markets in Asia, Credit Suisse will also focus on Japan and Australia, where personal wealth is also growing fast. Late last year, Credit Suisse agreed to buy HSBC's private-banking business in Japan to expand its presence in the world's third-largest economy. Credit Suisse yesterday said it was adding two veteran private bankers, Eddy Sze and Richard Wong, to its China team in Hong Kong. Both men worked for the China team at French bank BNP Paribas' wealth management unit before leaving for Credit Suisse to help it expand its client base, particularly on the mainland. Under current rules, foreign banks are not allowed as yet to run their own independent private banking business on the mainland, so global banks often use Hong Kong as a platform to do business with mainland clients who visit the city regularly. Currently, the entry level for a private banking account at Credit Suisse in Asia is US$2 million. In comparison, some small European private banks and some American investment banks seek wealthy clients in Asia who can individually commit US$5 million or sometimes US$10 million for the banks to manage. Unlike in Europe, private banking is a relatively new business in Asia, where many big family businesses are still run by first-generation entrepreneurs. Many want to hand over their businesses to the next generation. Anna Wong, Credit Suisse's head of Greater China private banking, said that could provide opportunities to private banks, and this trend was becoming clear. De Ferrari said that in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, more entrepreneurs felt it was necessary to have a plan to manage their wealth rather than to simply keep investing it in their businesses. 'The private banking business is a marathon, not a sprint. So it really takes time to build out,' he said.