TO compete with rival Asian markets, China must offer foreign investors a sound environment and professional economic management, says US bank J.P. Morgan. Managing director John Langlois yesterday said that while international investors were hunting for regional investments, markets had to improve the investment environment to be competitive. ''To be successful, China must be competitive,'' he said, stressing that the investment environment and the management expertise of the country's economy were factors that concerned investors most. That was particularly important as US investors were also interested in other Asian markets such as South Korea, Malaysia and Hong Kong, he said. Although attractive markets abound, J.P. Morgan president Thaddeus Beczak said: ''The US investors we talk to are anxious to do more business [in China]. ''They also hope to have more dialogues [with mainland officials], more information, more opportunities.'' Institutional investors attracted to the Chinese market would do two things - look at the macro-economic indicators and meet the people, Mr Beczak said. ''That's why visits are so important,'' he said, adding that it would be better if investors could ''see with their own eyes''. Investors tended to evaluate the China market on two fronts, political and economic. ''On the economic side, they see rising productivity and increasing foreign investment,'' he said. On the political side, they were optimistic about the Chinese Government's ability to steer the country through this transition process. Without directly commenting on the standard of mainland institutions and enterprises, he said: ''More Chinese enterprises will be able to meet requirements like financial disclosure and accounting standards.'' According to J.P. Morgan, five institutions had received an international credit rating to date. They are the Ministry of Finance, China International Trust and Investment Corp, the People's Construction Bank of China, the Bank of China, and Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corp. Mr Langlois was in Nanjing last week for a two-day seminar on exploring financing options in the US capital markets, attended by senior Chinese officials from banks and institutions. ''There is so much capital needed [in China] that borrowers need to be not only central government, but also local governments, and local groups,'' he said. That was because the demand for capital was far greater than the Government's willingness to be the sole borrower. ''Provincial borrowing may increase,'' he said. He cited as an example infrastructure such as power plants, highways and telecommunications links expected to be built on the mainland.