INTERNATIONAL Bank of Asia (IBA) plans to expand into China as soon as possible, chief executive Mike Murad says. The bank has received board approval and is now in talks with the Chinese side on a joint venture. Mr Murad said IBA was also considering applying for either a representative office or a branch licence on the mainland, where many of the bank's Hongkong clients have interests. The bank's 1992 results, to be released towards the end of the month, would show record profits, he said. He added: ''1992 will be a very successful year for IBA yet again.'' The bank opened four new branches in 1992, bringing the number to 21. Another is to open this month and at least one more later this year. IBA has undergone major restructuring since 1985, when Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp (ABC) bought a controlling stake in what was then Sun Hung Kai Bank, owned by the Fung family. As a result of the streamlining, productivity had jumped significantly, Mr Murad said. In 1987, the bank had more than 650 employees and a total $4 billion in assets. Currently, the bank has a staff of 500 with assets of $9 billion, according to Mr Murad. The average contribution to profits per employee rose accordingly, from $49,000 in 1987 to $192,000 at the end of 1991. Financial targets set in 1988 to be achieved in 1994 were reached well ahead of schedule in 1991, Mr Murad said. ''We have not done anything unusual,'' he said. ''We've just gone back to the basics of good banking.'' ABC bought into the bank as part of its strategy to develop a presence in the world's major financial centres, and the move was a ''natural expansion'' of its existing interests in Asia, Mr Murad said. It already had a large operation in Singapore and smaller ones in Thailand and several other Southeast Asian countries, in addition to its Tokyo business.