Top Banks in China

An overview of China's leading financial institutions

Overview of Banks in China

The People’s Bank of China (PBC) is the country’s central bank. It was established in May 1948 with the authority to carry out monetary policies and regulate financial institutions and banks in China (mainland).

Top Banks in China

The different types of banks in China are:

  • Specialized banks – The four specialized banks in the country include the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and the Bank of China (BOC)
  • Specific lending purpose banks – These include the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC), and the China Development Bank (CDB)
  • Commercial banks
  • Foreign banks

Moody’s outlook for 2021 rates the Chinese banking system as negative, as banks, asset managers, and leasing companies continue to face significant pressure and risks in the coming year. Specifically, Chinese banks will remain at risk of new non-performing loan (NPL) formation, with their credit costs staying high and, in turn, weakening their profitability and capacity to generate capital

For anyone considering a career in banking in China, the following list of top banks in China is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our list of financial institutions.

The Top Banks in China Include:

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

Founded in 1984, the International and Commercial Bank of China provides various banking products and services worldwide. The bank comprises Corporate Banking, Personal Banking, and Treasury Operations segments. ICBC is headquartered in Beijing and employs around 465,000 individuals.

ICBC operates approximately 16,197 domestic institutions and 426 overseas institutions, as well as approximately 1,507 correspondent banks.

Net income: CNY 315.9 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 34.4 trillion (3/2021)


China Construction Bank

Established in 1954, China Construction Bank offers various banking and related financial services in the People’s Republic of China. The bank consists of Corporate Banking, Personal Banking, and Treasury Business divisions. Headquartered in Beijing, it manages approximately 14,741 domestic institutions and 29 overseas institutions.

Net income: CNY 271.1 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 29.4 trillion (3/2021)

Agriculture Bank of China

Operating out of Beijing, the Agriculture Bank of China was established in 1951. The bank provides corporate and retail banking products and services through its over 450,000 employees. It operates through Corporate Banking, Personal Banking, and Treasury Operations segments.

As of December 31, 2020, the bank manages 22,938 branches in China, 13 overseas branches, and three overseas representative offices.

Net income: CNY 215.9 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 28.44 trillion (3/2021)

Bank of China

Founded in 1912, making it one of the oldest still existing banks in China, the Bank of China is headquartered in Beijing. It operates in six segments: Corporate Banking, Personal Banking, Treasury Operations, Investment Banking, Insurance, and Other Operations. It is also involved in the aircraft leasing business. The bank currently employs around 309,000 staff.

Net income: CNY 192.9 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 25.8 trillion (3/2021)

China Development Bank

China Development Bank was incorporated in 1994. It offers various banking and financial products and services in China and other countries. The bank comprises Banking, Equity Investment, Leasing, and Securities segments.

China Development Bank operates through 37 primary and three secondary branches in mainland China, one offshore branch in Hong Kong, and five representative offices in Cairo, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, and London. With 3,500 employees, it is headquartered in Beijing.

As of 2016, the bank’s assets totaled US$26.31 billion and net profit amounted to US$246 million.


Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC)

Established in 2007, PSBC offers various banking products and services for retail and corporate customers in the People’s Republic of China. It is headquartered in Beijing, employing around 175,000 staff at present.

Net income: CNY 64.2 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 12.0 trillion (3/2021)

Bank of Communications

Headquartered in Shanghai, the Bank of Communications was founded in 1908. The bank offers various commercial and retail banking products and services, primarily in China. With around 90,000 employees, it operates through a network of around 245 branches and 3,025 banking outlets in China, 68 overseas banking outlets, and a representative office in Toronto.

Net income: CNY 78.2 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 11.2 trillion (3/2021)

Industrial Bank Co Ltd

Incorporated in 1988, the Industrial Bank Co Ltd offers Personal, Corporate, and Institutional Banking services. From its headquarters in Fuzhou, the bank manages approximately 126 branches and 2,003 outlets and employs around 60,000 staff.

Net income: CNY 66.6 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 7.99 trillion (3/2021)

China Citic Bank Corp

China Citic Bank Corp offers several banking products and services in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and other countries. Established in 1987, the bank operates through Corporate Banking, Personal Banking, and Treasury Business segments.

As of December 31, 2020, the bank managed 1,405 branches, including 37 tier-one branches, 126 tier-two branches, and 1,242 sub-branches. With 58,000 employees, it is headquartered in Beijing.

Net income: CNY 49.0 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 7.79 trillion (3/2021)

China Merchants Bank

Founded in 1987, China Merchants Bank operates through Wholesale Finance Business, Retail Finance Business, and Other Business segments. With around 90,000 employees, the bank is based in Shenzhen.

As of December 31, 2020, the bank oversaw a network of 142 branches, 1,724 sub-branches, one branch-level operation center, one representative office, 3,495 self-service centers, 1,723 automatic teller machines, and 10,138 deposit-taking and cash withdrawal machines, as well as 16,559 visual counters. 

Net income: CNY 97.3 billion (2020)

Total assets: CNY 8.66 trillion (3/2021)


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Additional Resources

This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in China. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources:

Financial Analyst Certification

Become a certified Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® by completing CFI’s online financial modeling classes and training program!

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