Western companies have been encouraged to build relationships with Chinese banks if they wish to do business in the country.

Currently, four of the world’s top 10 most-capitalised banks are Chinese (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China) and they’ve been tipped to make further inroads into the global rankings.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has been set to make vehicles in China since entering into a £1bn joint venture with Chery Automobile, a Chinese company, in 2012. It will open its first Chinese factory in 2015.

The JV has since invested heavily in its relationships with Chinese banks. JLR treasurer Ben Birgbauer told the International Cash and Treasury Management Conference in Barcelona that the company obtained a revolving credit facility of more than US$3bn, syndicated exclusively to local banks.

The company has also included Chinese banks in syndicated loans outside China, as a way of strengthening its ties with them.

Birgbauer spoke of being surprised at how familiar the documentation on the Chinese-structured syndicated loan was. He said that many elements weren’t dissimilar from what you would see on LMA documentation. He also said that with the exception of a few “cumbersome” administrative points, Chinese banks were as open to negotiating terms and structure as any western banks he has dealt with.

The Chinese market has become more open to western banks in recent years. The likes of Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered have focused heavily on cross-border renminbi settlement.

This week, HSBC and Bank of East Asia, a Hong Kong outfit, were approved to setup presence in the nascent Shanghai free-trade zone, joining DBS and Citi as the first western banks to be granted licenses.

But despite the government’s attempts to make them less dependent on cheap funds (mainly by raising the Shibor), Chinese banks remain extremely liquid. The message from treasurers in Barcelona is that using them is a must if you wish to be a major trader on the mainland.