The comments were the first Chinese confirmation of reports about the bid for part of the fifth-largest U.S. securities firm, which has been hit hard by recent credit market turmoil.
China Citic Bank Corp., owned by China Citic Group, is bidding for a stake in Bear Stearns, vice chairman Jiang Dingzhi of the China Banking Regulatory Commission said during a meeting at a Communist Party congress. Jiang gave no details.
Separately, Citic Group Vice Chairman Chang Zhenming said there hasn't been any "material progress" in Citic Bank's participation in the Bear Stearns bid. Citic Group is a multibillion-dollar trust controlled by China's cabinet, with investments in a wide range of industries, including airlines and banks.
The New York Times reported earlier that Bear Stearns is in talks with several outside investors and could sell as much as 20 percent of itself.