MALAYAN Banking (Maybank), Malaysia's largest bank, is to beef up its operations in Hong Kong to support its clients, who are pursuing ever-increasing cross-border investments in the territory and China. ''Currently, China seems to be the main focus,'' said executive director Amirsham Aziz. ''Hong Kong, with its strategic location and well-developed financial market, enables us to provide support for our clients,'' he said. Its low-profile Hong Kong branch, established in 1962, not only serves Malaysian companies investing in the territory and southern China, but also Hong Kong investors venturing into the fast-growing Malaysian economy. The branch - involved mainly in treasury trading, syndicated loans and corporate lending - doubled loan growth last year from $600 million to $1.2 billion. ''We will uplift the profile of the branch and expand our operations,'' Mr Amirsham said. Moving northwards from Hong Kong, Maybank opened a representative office in Beijing a few months ago, and plans to expand its network to other cities such as Tianjin and Shanghai. The bank said Malaysian investors had poured US$300 million into China last year, primarily in the manufacturing and real estate industries. ''Malaysian companies have begun exporting capital, moving their operations out to low cost areas. It is natural for us to go abroad,'' Mr Amirsham said. To get acquainted with the China market, board members paid a visit to Beijing earlier this week, meeting central bank and Bank of China officials. Maybank is also planning operations in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Cambodia, and already has 22 branches in Singapore, making it the largest foreign bank in terms of network. Mr Amirsham said Maybank was in a good position to capitalise on economic development in the region. ''Our capital base is the largest among Malaysian banks. [With] US$1.26 billion, it is the only Malaysian bank with capital exceeding $1 billion,'' he said. Not only does the bank have an extensive network in Malaysia, it provides well-diversified financial services that cover multi-currency financings. There are two other Malaysian banks in Hong Kong: Public Bank and Bank Bumiputra Malaysia.