Awards recognizing the strongest banks in China, as Chinese bankers take leading roles on the global stage. 

Author: Thomas Clouse

Stars of China | Domestic

Consumer Bank

China Construction Bank

CCB is combining its strength in traditional banking with significant new technologies to offer the best customer banking services in the country. CCB has long been the country’s largest mortgage lender and is implementing a network of “smart” ATMs to replace conventional counter banking service. These ATMs, which utilize facial recognition, ID verification and check scanning features, will bring more convenience to the customer’s experience while allowing CCB to expand its geographic reach more easily. The bank also has made improvements to its mobile banking services, resulting in a 36% increase in mobile banking fees in the first half of the year.

Corporate Bank

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

ICBC has the largest share of both corporate loans and corporate deposits in the banking industry. This tremendous size has not prevented the bank from being responsive to the always-evolving market conditions within China and in the many markets around the world in which the bank operates. ICBC provided more than $20 billion in loans to almost 40 “Go Global” projects in the first half of the year, while also building more small and micro banking centers and expanding credit card and loan services for small business owners.

Equity Underwriting

GF Securities

Last year was volatile for Chinese securities, with domestic stock exchanges hitting record highs in the spring before plummeting in June. GF Securities weathered the storm well, increasing its underwriting revenue in the first half of 2016 by almost 11% year over year, despite much more challenging market conditions. The firm, which raised $3.6 billion in its own well-timed Hong Kong IPO in April 2015, underwrote 26 equity deals worth $7.9 billion in the first half, ranking behind only Citic Securities in Dealogic’s China league tables.

Infrastructure Lending

China Construction Bank

Infrastructure investment has been a cornerstone of CCB’s operations since the bank opened in 1954. Despite growing to become a world-class consumer and corporate bank, CCB has not lost touch with that original mandate. In the first half of 2016, the bank extended Rmb2.78 trillion ($417 billion) in infrastructure-related loans, accounting for almost 48% of its total corporate lending portfolio. The bank’s experience in infrastructure lending has helped overseas as well: CCB inked an agreement with the Singapore government in April to provide S$30 billion (US$22 billion) in financing for infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia.

M&A

Bank of China

This year, China’s outbound investment is outpacing inbound investment for the first time since the country began opening up its market almost four decades ago. Historically the most international of China’s big four banks, BOC is perfectly placed to benefit from this wave of investment pouring out of China and into markets around the world. BOC led all mandated mergers and acquisitions arrangers in the Asia Pacific region (ex-Japan) in M&A last year by working on 15 deals worth $7 billion—a 14.7% market share, according to Thomson Reuters tracking.

Debt Bank

Bank of China

The strength of BOC’s bond business shows on many fronts. In the first half of the year, the bank ranked first in total value of offshore Renminbi bond issuance, first in value of interbank “panda bonds,” and second in value of Chinese enterprises’ G3 bonds. The bank also boasts the fourth-largest market share in debt underwriting on the domestic open market. In June, the bank boosted its international profile and contributed to an economic milestone by underwriting China’s first overseas, renminbi-denominated sovereign bond issuance in London.

Small Business Lending

Harbin Bank

Based in China’s northeast, Harbin Bank has taken an unconventional approach to its growth by focusing on lending to small businesses rather than big corporate clients. Loans to small enterprises (SMEs) grew by 16.9% in the first half of the year and now account for 57% of the bank’s overall corporate lending portfolio. The bank hopes to keep up the momentum in the coming year with recent improvements to its online services and cross-border settlement services for small-business customers.

Supply Chain Finance

Bank of Communications

As China’s fifth-largest bank, BoCom has long relied on progressive products and services to reach corporate customers that historically have been underserved by its more-established Big Four peers. Strengthened by its relationship with its second-largest investor, HSBC, BoCom’s supply chain finance team focuses on the many companies along a supply chain and assists not only with financing and liquidity management but logistics, insurance and other services as well. In the past year, the bank has improved its e-banking services for corporate clients while expanding its presence overseas.

Renminbi Services

Bank of China

BOC built on historically strong ties to foreign financial entities to establish an industry-leading 1,489 cross-border clearing accounts for correspondent banks from 110 countries and regions. The bank ranks first in both customer base and business scale for Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFIIs) and Renminbi-Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFIIs) and has helped foreign entities—including British Columbia and the government of Hungary—issue renminbi-denominated bonds domestically and abroad.

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