UBS said it was interested in establishing closer relations with one of China's big-four state banks. "If we could [form a] joint venture or partner, that would be pretty interesting," UBS Investment Banking head John Costa told Reuters, adding a minority stake would be the likeliest scenario. Linking up with a top Chinese company, he said, "you are guaranteed to be one of the longterm winners." HSBC and several US banks have expressed similar interest in forming partnerships, but Costa said, as a Swiss bank, UBS offered "a significant alternative." HSBC Holdings recently bought 19.9% of Bank of Communications for US$1.75 billion.