If at first you don't succeed, bring China and Asia to the table. That appears to be the angle Barclays (NYSE:BCS) is taking in its improved bid to fend of the consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Fortis, and Banco Santander (NYSE:STD) in the battle for ABN Amro (NYSE:ABN).

Up until now, Western banks such as Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) have traditionally pursued Eastern banks as a means of gaining a foothold in the region and its growing economies. Barclays will instead sell shares of itself to China Development Bank and Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean bank chartered with managing the government's direct investments. Given the power of the two banks in Asia, this transaction should be strategically important for Barclays, regardless of the outcome of the ABN offer. This is highlighted by part of the transaction between Barclays and the two banks not being conditional on a successful merger with ABN.

With the news of the investment from the two Asian banks, Barclays also upped its offer for ABN Amro and switched from an all-stock offer to an offer that is a mix of cash and stock. The combined offer still falls slightly short of the straight cash offer from the consortium, but given the growth potential and strategic positioning in Asia provided by China Development Bank and Temasek, the Barclays offer is far more competitive than it was -- and far more interesting.

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Nathan Parmelee doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Bank of America is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.