French bank BNP Paribas is mulling a 50 per cent increase in its mainland corporate and investment banking headcount by 2008 on the back of strong revenue growth and as China opens up more to overseas lenders. 'The Chinese regulatory environment is changing fast,' said Jacques d'Estais, head of BNP Paribas' corporate and investment banking division, referring to the scheduled further opening of the mainland banking and securities markets in December. 'We want to do all the businesses that will open up to foreign banks in China.' BNP Paribas, the eurozone's largest bank by market value, increased its mainland revenue more than 30 per cent last year. The lender derives about 35 per cent of its global revenue from corporate and investment banking, with Asia including Japan contributing about 20 per cent of that. The division employs 200 to 250 people in four branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin and a wholly owned banking unit. The planned staff increase will not apply to BNP Paribas' 33 per cent-owned mainland investment banking joint venture, Changjiang BNP Paribas Peregrine Securities. BNP Paribas also has a 19.2 per cent stake in Nanjing City Commercial Bank and is the minority shareholder in Shanghai-based mutual fund manager SYWG BNP Paribas Asset Management. BNP Paribas this week announced that two new executives will head its freshly integrated Asian equity brokerage and corporate finance divisions. The exercise includes the rebranding of BNP Paribas Peregrine into BNP Paribas in certain regions, notably Hong Kong and the mainland. BNP Paribas Peregrine is facing increasing competition from Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in its niche market of underwriting mid-cap capital market transactions as the flow of initial public offerings by large state-owned firms dries up.