Morgan Stanley is looking to sell its 34 percent stake in investment bank China International Capital Corp, the U.S. bank's China chief executive said on Monday.

We are a passive investor in CICC, so getting out (of it) is the general direction, Wei Sun Christianson told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

He did not say whether Morgan Stanley was in talks to sell its stake or name potential investors.

Private equity firms Bain Capital and General Atlantic are among those eyeing the stake in CICC, China's largest investment bank, in a deal that could fetch more than $1.2 billion, Reuters reported last week.

People with direct knowledge of the matter said first-round bids for Morgan Stanley's stake are due on Tuesday.

The bank wants to sell because its role in CICC has been reduced to that of a passive investor and it feels frustrated, bankers say. Because Morgan Stanley already has one joint venture, regulators will not approve another one.

We are looking for partners to cooperate closely with us in China, Christianson said on Monday.

Morgan Stanley won approval from Chinese regulators early last year to sell its stake in CICC, but it took it off the block when bids came in too low. Now that the market has bounced back, it is trying again.

(Reporting by Kang Xize and Alan Wheatley; Editing by Jason Subler and David Cowell)