Banking System of China

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1 September 2015

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The Chinese banking system is said to be undergoing some tremendous change in the wake of the emergence of China as a major player in the global economy. This is so after several years of state ownership and communism that was so prevalent in the country. The reforms in the Chinese banking system commenced in the 1980’s to date. The structure of the Chinese banking system initially was monolithic with the People’s Bank of China being the only bank allowed to do banking business in the country as its Central Bank. But this changed in the early 1980’s when the Chinese government allowed some state owned banks that were specialized to start doing banking businesses and taking deposits. The banks licensed included: Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. This were the pioneer specialized banks in China and in 1994, there was the establishment of new banks whose purpose was policy specific like the China Development Bank, Export Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014). These banks have a varying ownership degree by the public that was done through the initial public offers but despite this, the majority shareholder of these banks is still the Chinese government.

Several joint stock commercial banks and city c commercial banks have been licensed to operate in China. The government of China has also licensed banks that are dedicated to develop the rural centers of China. Foreign banks have also been allowed to operate in China.

As of 2010, the total of the assets of the Chinese banking system were 14 trillion dollars. The four specialized banks in China at that time controlled 48 percent of these assets. The main regulatory body that controls the banking system is the CBRC (China Banking Regulatory Commission) that is charged with the responsibility of making rules and regulation of China banks CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013). The CBRC is in charge of oversight and collects banking statistics to be used in the process of approval of bank expansion. It also goes a long way in solving the potential solvency and liquidity issues that might trouble banks. This People’s Bank of China while acting as China’s Central bank has quite an authority over the Chinese banking system. This includes the typical role played by the central bank of representation on international monetary forums and maintenance of monetary policy. Its other roles are the reduction of risk and promotion of financial stability of the system. The PBC is also responsible lending regulation and the exchange of foreign currency between banks. It supervises settlement and payment system in the country.

The Chinese banking system does not consist of a deposit insurance where the depositors are protected from the loss of their funds in case the banks get wound up. However reforms are underway to ensure that Chinese depositors are able to get insured for their deposits. In the beginning of 2009, the Chinese government encouraged a large credit boom in order to offset the possible effects of the global financial crisis. The larger part of this credit was used to finance infrastructure and construction of real estate which helped China to grow by forty five percent between 2008 and 2013. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund’s credit reports increase to 200 percent with much of it coming from bonds, loans and non-bank financing equivalent to 13 trillion dollars. Out of the 200 percent increase, non-bank financing accounted for two thirds of the total CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013). This meant that the flow of credit was not from regulated Chinese banks but from Chinese financial institutions. The Chinese shadow banking system which has evolved over this period comprises of several layers which include capital markets, non-banking financial institutions and the informal sector.

Review of Literature

Globalization is a multifaceted term and deals with all the social, political and economic issues in the developed and developing world. The world has seen many changes in the form of innovation, technological advancements and economic prosperity. One of the major shifts in the current era has been the creation of a world with no boundary. This has resulted into integration of technology and modernization of production and working methods. This paper presents an in depth analysis on determining who have benefited from globalization in China.

The term ‘globalization’ has been a concept which has integrated in the world of current times. Globalization pertains to the growing relationships of people, culture, and economic activity on the global level. The term is often utilized to refer to the perspective of economic globalization: it is the production and distribution of the services and goods on the global platform and takes place with the help of the reduced obstacles of international trade. These trade barriers include the export fees, tariffs, and import quotas, and also comprise of the free movement of investment and capital in the entire world. There are many ways countries that have benefited from globalization in China CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014). The impacts of trade brought by globalization could be seen by the diffusion of the art of glass making in China from Western. Religious ideology spread quickly in all directions through globalization. Mercantilism for instance spread from the West to the East through globalization. The easy flow of ideas, art and culture resulted in economic, cultural and social vibrancy that was unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Globalization has made China’s economy the fastest growing economy with an average of 9 percent of growth in the last three decades. China has the largest volume of goods imported and exported throughout the global market. Provinces at the coasts of China are more industrialized and developed than those in the hinterland. It is for this reason that China has a substantial influence on the world economy because of the large volume of trade. The most valuable sector of China’s economy is industry and agriculture CITATION Moo99 l 1033 (Moore, 1999). The Agricultural output has been adversely affected by erratic and sporadic weather of East Asia. The industrial sector in China has advanced more than the agricultural sector in China because of incomes, technology and labor productivity. The differences in the two sectors of the economy are the reason for the social, economic and cultural disparity between the urban and rural areas. China is the leading producer of mineral and industrial products like coal and oil. According to statistics, China has achieved a growth level of 10.9%, which is quite a massive growth. With this rapid growth, people are now quite able to achieve higher living standards which can be observed in China where people can now be more luxurious in the goods they buy over the inferior ones CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013).

The government of China can now provide timely and more efficient services for everyone’s wellbeing. This is as a result of more people being able to pay their taxes as there are more employment opportunities. The availability of more revenue has enabled them to improve on the medical healthcare facilities and education. This not only has private benefit, but a healthy population can be more productive due to the increased life expectancy.

With increasing globalization, Western Europe established favorable for trade and entrepreneurship through its educated workforce working in China. The development of infrastructural linkages in China favors trading in the region. This process has enhanced the rate of international trade of different services and goods. The production processes have been broken down into various stages separated by the geographical boundaries and is conducted on large scale. Moreover, an enormous expansion in the manufacturing exports has occurred from many developing countries. All these factors have created new opportunities and possibilities for the developing regions of the world.  For instance, during 1900s, the Japan and China experienced an increasing market share while the rest of the world witnessed the export share to be decreasing. China’s globalization has also enhanced the participation of the developing world in FDI expansion. Due to the boosting of financial expansion in the industrial world, the developing nations have also obtained a platform to give their contributions in the financial world and enjoy the advantages of modern concepts CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014).

Globalization in China has encouraged increased flight of capital and ideas to other countries like Korea and Japan which have increased their inventiveness and expertise through the hiring of fresh and innovative human resources from the developed nations. Moreover, they are able to avail the opportunities of investing in the developed regions of the world as well as attracting newer investments from other parts of the world CITATION Yen14 l 1033 (Yen, Lai, & Wang, 2014). China’s globalization has in turn influenced the neighboring countries. India for instance has picked a few lessons from China and has adopted a more open economy in the process. This has in the process transformed the nation as regards to development and creation of opportunities in the global scale for most multi-national companies. Globalization in China has resulted in an increased level of trade of China with other countries that are in different parts of the globe. Its recent growth has led to the revival of Japan’s economy and in the process saving them from recession thus averting a serious global downturn.

With the huge population figures in China, it has provided markets for American companies and their products. This has led to the flow of income from the U. S to China. The exported cheap products that are produced in the US has resulted in the increase of job opportunities thus an improvement of the living standards of the Americans and other countries nationals who are in active trade with China. With globalization China has been able to export some of its products to markets like the U.S thus managing to keep the level of inflation and interest rates down in the process prolonging the economic boom in America CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014).

The success of globalization in China has led to decreased cases of wars and conflict in the globe. China is often a quiet participant in global conflict and its lack of interest in conflict has been beneficial to the global stage. With globalization it has managed to steer away from instances of tug of wars with the other global super powers. It does not sponsor insurgencies in conflict prone areas like the Middle East Asia and Latin America unlike other superpowers. It has by all means through globalization supported the global financial institutions like the IMF in assisting the poor CITATION Moo99 l 1033 (Moore, 1999). As a result of this, third world countries have benefited the most from China’ s generosity as regards to funding and sponsoring of development projects in their countries. In recent time China has been an active participant in the African scene f infrastructure with most of the projects in these countries being sponsored and conducted by China. This in essence shows Africa as the direct benefactor of globalization in China. China has been able to provide loans to these countries and in the process has strengthened ties with these nations. The concept of globalization has also proven to be a friend to the developing world by providing it the chances to stand in the line of competitors and thus, aim on attaining efficiency and competitive advantage


The non-banking financial institutions constitute the larger part and they are subject to regulatory oversight. The oversight involves various degrees that include direct loans for surfeit funds from companies to trade credit or other borrowers, wealth management products and trust companies, pawn shops, micro credit providers, over 3000 private and equity providers partly funded by private investors, consumer credit institutions, and financial guarantors to finance companies. The capital markets allow institutional investors and insurance companies to by debt and equity securities. The informal sector poses as a major risk for the Chinese economy because it involves direct lending between secretive and individual lending which is often conducted by illegal loan sharks like back lane bankers and unrestrained capitalists who offer loans at high interests to small business enterprises. What drives this tremendous growth of the Chinese shadow banking system is the regulation and structure of the country’s financial system. China’s credit markets is dominated by four major banks that are controlled by the state and focus on lending to government associated firms , enterprises owned by the state and projects with official sanctions. This makes it quite difficult for other businesses to gain access to bank credit which triggers shadow banking to fill this gap. This exemplifies a popular saying in Chinese culture which asserts that’ countermeasures come from below while policies come from above. There is immense risk that is associated China’s shadow banking system which questions the longevity of the Chinese financial welfare. Although it may be difficult to ascertain the exact size of the Chinese shadow banking system, it is evidently growing rapidly and accounts for approximately 70 to 100 percent of the country’ GDP CITATION Yen14 l 1033 (Yen, Lai, & Wang, 2014).

A major problem is that most of the financial guarantors and trust companies of the Chinese shadow banking system often lack enough capital. This forces them into an average leverage that is twenty times their worth given that most of the investments are of high nature. More so, the detail as to what exactly the investor will use the funds for is not clear. There is ambiguity regarding how to enforce security interests and due diligence by the investment enterprise or sponsor and the rights if the investor and borrower. The controls and oversight of the shadow banking system are weak since it operates with regulations that are limited.

Main Issues/ Findings

The share of lending by Chinese banks has now decreased from ninety percent over the past ten year to fifty percent showing how much the Chinese economy now relies on the shadow banking system as a vital financial source. This has mostly affected the local governments, small and medium sized enterprises and property companies. This interconnection between conventional banking systems and the shadow banking system lead to the creation of moral hazards and additional risk based on regulatory reasons CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013). The banks often use the shadow banking system when shifting loan assets from their window financial statements and balance sheets for investors and regulators. For example, when Chinese banks are not able to lend funds at high interests to companies, they use Wealth Management Products and Trust Companies. They also create products of investment for investors looking for higher returns thereby acting as an intermediate between borrowers and savers Chinese banks has thus used shadow banking investment products like Security Brokers and Trust Companies to maintain the earnings and market share through the commissions and fees from the products. Currently, there has been an increase on the number of Wealth Management Products issued by Chinese banks has increased from roughly 100 billion dollars to 3 trillion dollars CITATION Kuh12 l 1033 (Kuhn & Yang, 2012).

Shadow banking has caused uneven credit quality of many borrowers in the market. This is because of the variability in collateral used to secure loans. Although most of the wealth management products are invested as bond markets, interbank deposits and money markets whose large proportion is secured through real estate. The problem with real estate is that the investors are highly vulnerable to losses because property values fluctuate every now and then. This exposes them to high negative risk. There are also other risky forms of collateral in shadow banking which include invaluable commodities and industry machinery and other exotic forms like graveyards that also expose businesses to risk. Most importantly is the fact that the collaterals pledged may not even be in existence CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014). A good example is that of Wealth Management Product the Golden Elephant Number 38 which was secured by a deserted housing estate located in rice filed within the Jiangxi Province of China. This Wealth Management Product offered 7.2 percent to its investors on an annual basis. The collaterals used also entail substantial mismatches whereby long term assets are financed by short term funds that do not generate any income. This poses a liquidity crisis for the financial system and the conduit vehicles which face constant periodic payments and other refinance requirements. This is evidenced by the huge 660 billion dollars’ worth of trust products that have matured as of 2014.

The linkages between bank and shadow banking system in China are quite complex in nature. There are different transactions between the different shadow banking institutions. China growing concern over the debt accrued is complicated by the fact that there has been an increase in the rate of borrowing by most of its local government and the important role the shadow banking system plays in this economy. This is quite undermines the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit and highlights the huge problems in China’s system of finance. The relaxation measures taken by the central government in the wake of 2007/2008 financial crisis led to increased government expenditure in an endeavor to increase economic activity.

The legal limitation is that the local governments in China are not allowed to ask for any form of funding or rather borrowing. This was after the creation of Urban Development Investment Companies (UDIC) that was allowed to ask for any form of funding the local government need. Ideally, UDIC’s are allowed to ask for funding from banks but the recent action by banks to reduce on loans led them to borrow from the shadow banking system. This has thus resulted in the local banks being left in the dark as there are disputes on the exact figure of borrowings made despite the growing level of scrutiny revolving the issue CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013).

There has been an increased rate of borrowing, misappropriation of funds and servicing of debts due to prices of property increasing in China. The growing concern by the lenders is more likely to reduce the availability of credit and as a result leading to a restrained cash flow. It can be said that the rise of the shadow banking has emerged from the structured financial system that is regulated. The limited access to funds and credit in bank has led to the emergence of shadow banking as the alternative solution to access credit. The regulation by the government in terms of deposits and interest rates has contributed majorly to the growth of shadow banking. The loss of purchasing power by consumers has led them to opt for the high interest rates offered by shadow banks CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014).

The Chinese central government has been on the offence through curtailing of expansion of credit through making reduction in loan quotas thus to a large extend limiting lending to certain sectors in the long run encouraging the growth of shadow banking. The shadow banking system is multi-faceted where there is lending in the informal sector say between individuals and underground lending through shylocks who offer high rates of interest on loans to small businesses. This can be seen as some form of harassment to the small businesses where they incur the high costs of interest rates charged to them by this shadow banking system.

The problems by this shadow banking system are aggravated by the fact that this shadow banking system in China is made up of non-banking financial institutions like leasing companies, finance companies and guarantors that are supposed to be regulated. The dominating products in the non-banking institution sector are wealth management products. These trust companies thrive in financing riskier transactions and borrowers who banks cannot do business with because of the strict regulations that come with them. These companies raise money from investors who then invest in securities and loans. The attractions of such investments are the high returns in comparison to bank deposits. The financing of local government projects of infrastructure come from trust funds because of the reluctance of the Central bank to limit the local government financing.

A common feature of China’s shadow banking is the working relationship they have with banks. The banks act as an agent in loan from one financial institution to another. Short term government debts interest is administered by the respective Central bank of that particular country. This is so because the sole role of the Central government is the maintenance of economic growth and price stability CITATION Yen14 l 1033 (Yen, Lai, & Wang, 2014). With lower interest rates then there is economic growth this is because of the affordability of credit as the people are able to service their loans and debts at low costs. From Statistics of the Chinese Central Bank, there has been a steady decline and rise in the interest rate in China for the last decade. This could be attributed to the public outcry in the country calling for effective and efficient monetary policy measures by their respective departments of finance. These measures have thus maintained the interest rates to a bare minimum thus enabling the stable economic growth in China.

The GDP growth rate figures are an indication of the wealth produced per capita in an economy. This then determines the levels of foreign direct investment that are attracted to an economy. A high GDP and growth rate like that of China shows a growing economy thus a high attraction rate for investors in the country CITATION Loo13 l 1033 (Looney, 2013). The high inflation rate in China erodes the purchasing power of the consumers. The inflation rate of China serves as an economic indicator of the economic direction of the country except for special global cases like Japan that despite low and negative inflation rates show no growth rate.

ConclusionFrom this analysis therefore, it is clear that the economic policies and issues of the Chinese economy is determined by various economic variables provided by the Central Bank of China which plays a vital role to ensure the full realization of the economic vision. The central bank’s monetary role and the governments’ fiscal policy role determine the economic development. With a proper and effective economic policies then the economic development agendas can be easily arrived atCITATION nte06 l 1033 (International Monetary Fund, 2006).

Shadow banking has grown in China and it is now rivaling conventional banking systems and this has made the country a focal point regarding macroeconomic attention. There is a lot of speculation as to whether or not China’s economy will slow down and eventually cause critical financial upshot as a result of shadow banking CITATION Cla14 l 1033 (Claessens & Kodres, 2014). Consequently, this has become a serious issue that has gained global concern. In the beginning of 2009, the Chinese government encouraged a large credit boom in order to offset the possible effects of the global financial crisis. The larger part of this credit was used to finance infrastructure and construction of real estate which helped China to grow by forty five percent between 2008 and 2013.


Claessens, S., & Kodres, L. E. (2014). The Regulatory Responses to the Global Financial Crisis: Some Uncomfortable Questions. New York: International Monetary Fund.

International Monetary Fund. (2006). Progress in China’s Banking Sector Reform: Has Bank …, Issues 2006-2071.

Kuhn, R. L., & Yang, L. (2012). China’s Banking and Financial Markets: The Internal Research Report of the Chinese Government. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Looney, R. E. (2013). Handbook of Emerging Economies. New York: Routledge.

Moore, T. G. (1999). China and Globalization. Asian Perspective, 65-85.

Yen, J., Lai, K. K., & Wang, M. (2014). China’s Financial Markets: Issues and Opportunities. New York: Routledge.

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"Banking System of China" StudyScroll, Sep 1, 2015.

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