China’s banking sector has witnessed significant inbound M&A traffic by developed market banks in recent years. At the same time, Chinese banks have risen to become some of the world’s biggest banks. Along with these massive market values and financing capabilities have come global ambitions culminating in first outbound M&A moves. This study exploratively researches the relationship between developed market banks’ inbound M&A into China and Chinese banks’ outbound M&A. Based on a conceptual discussion, case studies and expert interviews an explanation model is developed outlining the drivers and barriers of Chinese banks’ outbound M&A and the factors in the inbound-outbound relationship. This model enables developed market banks to analyse potential M&A reactions by incumbents. Finally, dynamic M&A market entry strategies are derived, which explicitly account for future incumbent outbound M&A moves.