THE Hongkong and Shanghai Bank and Hang Seng Bank may ''look as if they're getting out of the luxury market'', as one senior banker at a large US commercial bank put it, but what's the alternative? If you're a developer you might issue a bundle of Euro-convertible bonds and lend the proceeds out to your customers. A nice idea for a while but hardly the stuff of business school case studies. Still, a few months back the Bank of America and US investment bank Salomon Brothers thought they'd got it right when they announced their intention to arrange a securitised offering of the former's mortgage assets. However the wave of the future seems to have to run into a spot of trouble. Mortgage securities which in the US and Britain are treated just like any other fixed-interest bonds are tricky offerings. After months of trying, industry sources now say that Salomon has scrapped any idea of taking the offering public and will quietly place the mortgages in a private transaction. At the very earliest, the $500 million placement will go through in May, sources say. Still, for those who had visions of an enormous liquid market with secondary trading in generic mortgage bonds, hope would appear to burn on. Another US commercial bank is planning a similar offering which will involve creating a special company that could serve as the funnel for many more such mortgage offerings in the future. AHEAD of round two in the great H-share game, CITIC has pulled off a quiet little coup which should land it a tidy return when the battle commences. Chemical fibre manufacturer Yizheng is expected to make its entrance on the local exchange in March or April this year, and it would seem that CITIC, whose previous stake in the holding company was about 30 per cent, has managed to wangle itself a directportion of the firm's shares. CITIC had apparently been grumbling that if its only stake was in the holding company, it would miss out on the fun of owning the listed scrip. It's not difficult to see why. Southeast Asian index stocks may have lost their lustre in recent weeks but the China dream burns on for the foreign investors. SPIN doctoring and corporate PR would appear to be alive and kicking in the board rooms of Shenzhen if B-share listed Shenzhen Vanke is anything to go by. Although still listed on the Shenzhen exchange as such, we are told the company will be changing its name to China Vanke. It's not known if the firm's directors bumped into Peter Woo and John Hung, who no doubt would have engaged them on the virtues of doing so from their own experience in the World-to-Wheelock episode. Feeling a little parochial, Shenzhen Vanke no doubt thought that, with 1.1 billion consumers, there's a whole country out there.