Bank of China Limited
Native name
Company typePublic
IndustryFinancial services
Founded1905 (as Da-Qing Bank)
1912 (as Bank of China)
1979 (re-established)
FounderChen Jintao
Area served
Key people
GE Haijiao (Chairman & President)
ProductsCredit cards, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, savings, Securities, asset management, wealth management
RevenueIncrease CN¥503.81 billion
$73.23 billion[2] (2018)
Increase CN¥227.53 billion
$33.07 billion[2] (2018)
Increase CN¥192.44 billion
$27.97 billion[2] (2018)
Total assetsIncrease CN¥21.267 trillion
$3.091 trillion[2][3] (2018)
Total equityIncrease CN¥1.613 trillion
$234 billion[2] (2018)
OwnerGovernment of the People's Republic of China
Number of employees
306,322[4] (2021)
Capital ratio16.91% (2021)[5]
RatingA, A-1, Stable (S&P)
A1, P-1, Stable (Moody's)
A, F1+, Stable (Fitch)[6]
Bank of China
Simplified Chinese中国银行
Traditional Chinese中國銀行
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese中银
Traditional Chinese中銀
Second alternative Chinese name

The Bank of China (BOC; Chinese: 中国银行; pinyin: Zhōngguó Yínháng) is a Chinese majority state-owned commercial bank headquartered in Beijing and one of the very largest banks in the world.

The Bank of China was formed in 1912 by renaming the Qing dynasty's Da-Qing Bank (est. 1905) under the newly established Republican government. Until 1942, it issued banknotes on behalf of the government as one of the "Big Four" banks of the period, together with the Bank of Communications (est. 1908), Central Bank of China (est. 1924), and Farmers Bank of China (est. 1933). Following the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949, the bank continued activity in Taiwan where it renamed itself International Commercial Bank of China upon privatization in 1971, while its mainland operations were absorbed into the People's Bank of China (PBC). In 1979, the Bank of China was re-established by spin-off from the PBC in the early phase of Chinese economic reform.

As of 31 December 2019, it was the second-largest lender in China overall and ninth-largest bank in the world by market capitalization value,[7] and it is considered a systemically important bank by the Financial Stability Board. As of the end of 2020, it was the fourth-largest bank in the world in terms of total assets, ranked after the other three Chinese banks.[8]

The Bank of China (Hong Kong) is the local subsidiary of the Bank of China, with which it maintains close relations in management and administration and co-operates in several areas including reselling BOC's insurance and securities services.


Early 20th century

Entrance to the Da-Qing Bank head office complex [zh] in Beijing, seat of the Bank of China from 1912 to 1928
Bank of China Building, Shanghai, completed in 1937

In 1905, the Qing government established the Da-Qing Bank in Beijing. When the Republic of China was established in 1912, Chen Jintao was named head of financial reform in President Sun Yat-sen's government and reorganized the Da-Qing Bank into the Bank of China, of which he has subsequently been viewed as the founder.[9][10][11][12]

In 1917, Tsuyee Pei opened the branch of the Bank of China in Hong Kong.[13][14] In 1928, the bank moved its head office from Beijing to Shanghai.

In 1929, the bank opened a branch in London, its first outside of China.[15] The branch managed the government's foreign debt, became a center for the bank's management of its foreign exchange, and acted as an intermediary for China's international trade. In 1931, another overseas branch opened in Osaka,[16] and in 1936 in Singapore (to handle remittances to China of overseas Chinese) as well as an agency in New York.

In 1937, on the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, Japanese forces blockaded China's major ports. The Bank of China opened a number of branches in Batavia, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Haiphong, Hanoi, Rangoon, Bombay, and Calcutta to facilitate the gathering of remittances and the flow of military supplies. It also opened sub-agencies in Surabaya, Medan, Dabo, Batu Pahat, Baichilu, Mandalay, Lashio, Ipoh, and Seremban. In 1941-1942, the Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia forced the BOC to close all its overseas branches, agencies, sub-branches and sub-agencies, except London, New York, Calcutta, and Bombay. Nevertheless, in 1942, it managed to set up six new overseas branches, such as in Sydney, (Australia), Liverpool, and Havana, and possibly Karachi.

Following the end of World War II, the Bank of China in 1946 reopened its branches and agencies in Hong Kong, Singapore, Haiphong, Rangoon, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Jakarta. It moved the Hanoi agency to Saigon. At the suggestion of the Allied Forces Headquarters, it liquidated the branch in Osaka and opened a sub-branch in Tokyo. In 1947, the bank opened agencies in Bangkok, Chittagong, and Tokyo.

In 1950, following the victory of Communist forces in the civil war, some of the BOC's overseas branches (e.g. Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Calcutta, Bombay, Chittagong, and Karachi) of Bank of China remained with the mainland bank headquartered in Beijing, while others (e.g. New York, Tokyo, Havana, Bangkok, and one other, possibly Panama) remained with the Bank of China headquartered in Taipei, which in 1971 took the new name International Commercial Bank of China (中國國際商業銀行). The Rangoon branch was nationalized in 1963 together with all other foreign and domestic banks in Burma. In 1971, China transferred the two branches in Karachi and Chittagong to the National Bank of Pakistan. In 1975, the Republic of South Vietnam nationalized the branch in Saigon and the Khmer Rouge government nationalized that in Phnom Penh.

Since 1979

Former Continental Bank Beijing building [zh], head office of the re-established Bank of China from 1979 to 2001

The People's Bank of China began spinning off its commercial functions starting in 1978, and re-established the Bank of China in 1979 with focus on international finance.[17]: 225  That same year, the new BOC opened a branch in Luxembourg, which gradually became its European headquarters through the 1990s.[18] In 1981 it opened a branch in New York,[19] followed by Paris in 1985. In 1987, the BOC became an ordinary member of the LBMA. In 1992, it opened a representative office in Toronto, upgraded the next year as a Schedule II bank.

The BOC experiences challenges in Singapore. In 2001, Kwangtung Provincial Bank was closed and merged under Bank of China, Singapore Branch; one year later, Bank of China Futures Pte Ltd wound up operations in Singapore. In 2001-2007, the BOC undertook massive staff layoffs and paycuts in BOC Singapore Branch, a phase of turmoil that culminated in 2007 when branch head Zhu Hua was asked to leave by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for his poor performance. He was replaced by Liu Yan Fen. In 2008, the head of Settlements at BOC, Chin Chuh Meng, was investigated involvement for Multi-Level Marketing Activities in Singapore, a scheme involving employees of the Bank of China and ex-Kwangtung Bank.[20] In 2009, People's Park Remittance Centre opened in Singapore, while Sunday Banking Business ceased in Chinatown Sub-branch in Singapore.

In 2005, in the runup to its initial public offering, BOC solicited long term investors to take strategic stakes in the company, including a $3.1 billion investment by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and further investments by Swiss bank UBS AG and Temasek Holdings (who also promised to subscribe for an additional $500 million worth of shares during the IPO). The Bank was also investigated by the United States in its money laundering probe related to the superdollars affair.[21] On 1 June 2006, the BOC's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was the largest IPO since 2000 and the fourth largest IPO ever, raising some US$9.7 billion in the H-share Global Offering. The Over-Allotment Option was then exercised on 7 June 2006, raising the total value of their IPO to US$11.2 billion.[22] BOC also made a successful IPO in mainland China on 5 July 2006, offering up to 10 billion A-shares on the Shanghai A Stock Exchange for RMB20 billion (US$2.5 billion). BOC also bought Singapore Airlines's stake in Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise, renaming it BOC Aviation in 2007.

In 2008, BOC acquired a 20 percent stake in the Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild (LCFR) for 236.3 million euros (US$340 million). In 2009, the bank opened branches in São Paulo and Maputo,[23] as well as Penang in October. In 2012, the BOC opened a branch in Taiwan. The opening was seen as a symbol of deepening economic ties across Taiwan Strait[24] Bank of China (M) Bhd opened its 6th branch in Malaysia at Tower 2, PFCC, Bandar Puteri Puchong in 2012. BOC also opened a branch in Stockholm in 2012, and in Lisbon in 2013.[25] In December 2010, the Bank of China New York branch began offering renminbi products for Americans.[26] It was the first major Chinese bank to offer such a product.

During the 2013 Korean crisis, the Bank of China halted business with a North Korean bank accused by the United States of financing Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.[27] New branch opened in Montreal. The Canadian arm of the Bank of China now has 10 branches across Canada, including five in the Greater Toronto Area and three in Vancouver.[28]

In 2015, the BOC gained entry to the London Bullion Market Association gold price auction. At the time, it was one of eight members to the auction.[29] That same year, the BOC opened two global commodity centres in Singapore, becoming the first Chinese bank to do so outside China.[30]

In 2016, the BOC received permission to open a branch in Brunei,[31] and opened a branch in Mauritius becoming the first Chinese-funded bank in Mauritius.[32] In 2017, it received permission to operate a deposit bank in Turkey,[33] and in October 2017, opened its first branch in Pakistan in Karachi.

It is the second largest lender in China overall, and the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalization value.[7] Once 100% owned by the central government, via China Central Huijin and National Council for Social Security Fund (SSF), an Initial public offering (IPO) of its shares took place in June 2006, the free float is at present over 26%. In the Forbes Global 2000 it ranked as the 4th-largest company in the world.[34]

It is the most globally-active of China's banks, with branches on every inhabited continent. As of 2017, BOC operated outside of mainland China in 27 countries and areas including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Russia, Hungary, United States, Panama, Brazil, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Zambia, South Africa, and a branch office in the Cayman Islands.[35] Even so, its operations outside China accounted for less than 4% of the activity of the bank by both profits and assets. Mainland China accounted for 60% of the bank by profits and 76% by assets as at December 2005.[citation needed]

As of 2024, Bank of China planned to sell a new category of total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC) bonds worth 150 billion yuan ($21 billion). This would make it the first state-owned bank in the country to fill the funding gap by 2025.[36] Bank of China issued the first USD-denominated biodiversity-themed bond among global financial institutions.[37]

Major subsidiaries

Tokyo branch
410 Madison Ave, New York City
Bank of China building in Singapore
Bank of China building in Luxembourg
Bank of China in Shenyang

Hong Kong

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Main article: Bank of China (Hong Kong)

BOC started operations in Hong Kong in 1917.[citation needed] It became Hong Kong's third note-issuing bank in 1994, and in Macau in 1995.[38]

In 2001, BOC regrouped its Hong Kong operations into Bank of China (Hong Kong); then BOCHK listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in October 2002. Two-thirds of its share capital are in free float. The bank's headquarters in Hong Kong are located in the Bank of China Tower, designed by the renowned architect I.M. Pei, and was opened to the public in 1990 as the tallest building in Hong Kong at that time.[citation needed]

It listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (independently from BOCHK) (SEHK:3988) by floating the largest initial public offering (IPO) in the world by any institution since 2000 on 1 June 2006, raising US$9.7 billion. The IPO attracted HK$286 billion (US$36.7 billion) in retail orders and was the most heavily oversubscribed in the history of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The offer was around 76 times oversubscribed. Although some financial analysts advised caution due to the worrying amounts of non-performing loans, this hardly deterred investors. The IPO share price started at HK$2.95 per share and jumped 15% (to HK$3.40) after the first day of trading.[citation needed]

In 2008, the Bank of China was crowned Deal of the Year - Debt Market Deal of the Year at the 2008 ALB Hong Kong Law Awards.[citation needed]


Bank of China (Canada)
Company typeSubsidiary
PredecessorBank of China Toronto Representative Office
Founded18 May 1993[39]
50 Minthorn Boulevard
Markham, Ontario
Areas served
Revenue473,912,000,000 renminbi (2015) Edit this on Wikidata
229,237,000,000 renminbi (2015) Edit this on Wikidata
179,417,000,000 renminbi (2015) Edit this on Wikidata
Total assets16,815,597,000,000 renminbi (2015) Edit this on Wikidata
Number of employees
310,042 (2015) Edit this on Wikidata
ParentBank of China
A branch located in Toronto's Chinatown

Bank of China (Canada), commonly known as BOCC, is the Canadian subsidiary of the Bank of China (BOC). The Bank of China began its business in Canada by opening a representative office in Toronto on 8 September 1992. BOCC was incorporated as a subsidiary of BOC in 1993 under Schedule II of the Bank Act.[39] BOCC provides the following types of banking services in Canada: bank accounts to both personal and commercial banking clients, remittance services (including bank drafts and wire transfers), loans and mortgages, foreign exchange services, and China visa application assistance services where by it acts as agent, however plans for a China Visa Application Centre are being made and it is anticipated that the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Toronto will entrust all future China Visa applications to Bank of China Canada's Visa Application Centre.[citation needed]

In Canada, BOCC has ten locations located in Markham, Toronto (several branches, in downtown, North York and Scarborough], Mississauga, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. It previously had branches in Burnaby and Richmond. As well, the bank is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA); registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks; and, a member of Interac, which handles transactions between automated teller machines of different banks and debit card transactions.[citation needed]


Although it is not a central bank, the Bank of China is licensed to issue banknotes in two of China's Special Administrative Regions. Until 1942, the Bank of China issued banknotes in mainland China on behalf of the Government of the Republic of China. Today, the Bank issues banknotes in Hong Kong and banknotes in Macau (under the Portuguese name "Banco da China, Sucursal de Macau"), along with other commercial banks in those regions.


As of 30 September 2015, largest shareholders of the Bank of China ordinary shares (both A shares and H shares) were:[40]

As of 30 September 2015, largest shareholders of the Bank of China preference shares (both domestic and offshore) were:[41]



Guarantee scandal in Poland

After COVEC withdrew from completing its construction of the A2 highway in Poland, Bank of China was to pay a performance guarantee to the Polish government's road organization GDDKiA. However, with Export-Import Bank of China, they refused to pay this; only Deutsche Bank honoured its obligations under the court decision.[44]

Wultz v. Bank of China

On 8 August 2008, the family of Daniel Wultz, an American teenager killed in a 2006 terrorist attack in Israel, filed suit against the Bank of China in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case was subsequently transferred to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, where litigation continues. On 29 October 2012, the Honorable J. Scheindlin issued a ruling compelling Bank of China to provide discovery.[45][46][47]

Alleged money transfers to Hamas

In 2012, the families of eight terror victims of the 2008 Mercaz HaRav massacre in Jerusalem filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the Bank of China. The suit asserted that in 2003 the bank's New York branch wired millions of dollars to Hamas from its leadership in Syria and Iran. The Bank of China subsequently denied providing banking services to terrorist groups: "The Bank of China has always strictly followed the UN's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements and regulations in China and other judicial areas where we operate."[48][49][50]

Money laundering

In 2014 BOC denied China Central Television reports of money laundering.[51]

See also


  1. ^ Corporate Information, Bank of China, Archived 9 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Bank of China Limited. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  3. ^ "2013 Annual Report" Archived 4 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bank of China 2013 Annual Report,
  4. ^ 中国银行股份有限公司, "中国银行股份有限公司2021年年度报告" Archived 17 May 2022 at the Wayback Machine, 中国银行股份有限公司, 29 March 2022. p 69. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  5. ^ 中国银行股份有限公司, "中国银行股份有限公司2021年资本充足率报告" Archived 17 May 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Bank of China Limited, 29 March 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  6. ^ Bank of China, "Credit Rating" Archived 28 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine, Bank of China, 12 December 2019. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  7. ^ a b "Global 500 December 2009 : Market values and prices at 31 December 2009" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  8. ^ "These are the 28 biggest banks in the world — each one with more than $1 trillion of assets". Business insider. 24 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  9. ^ 中国银行简介 .中国银行官网
  10. ^ 媒体解析央企"一把手"任命与选拔模式 .网易新闻
  11. ^ 1912年2月5日 民国政府第一银行:中国银行开业 .搜狐网
  12. ^ 中国金融机构名录:中国银行 .腾讯财经
  13. ^ Wankel, Charles (2009). Encyclopedia of Business in Today's World: A - C. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781412964272. Archived from the original on 17 May 2022. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  14. ^ "History | About us | BOCHK". Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  15. ^ Zhang, Wenxian; Alon, Ilan (2010). A Guide to the Top 100 Companies in China. World Scientific. ISBN 9789814291477. Archived from the original on 17 May 2022. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Expansion of Foreign Exchange Business via Bank of China Overseas Branches (1929 - 1936)". Bank of China. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  17. ^ Roach, Stephen S. (2022). Accidental Conflict: America, China, and the Clash of False Narratives. New Haven: Yale University Press. doi:10.12987/9780300269017. ISBN 978-0-300-26901-7. JSTOR j.ctv2z0vv2v. OCLC 1347023475.
  18. ^ "Bank of China Becomes the First RMB Clearing Bank Recognized by Government of Luxembourg". 1 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Bank of China U.S.A. New York Branch". Bank Of China. Archived from the original on 2 October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Firm set up to manage CIRC fund_English_Xinhua". 18 September 2008. Archived from the original on 8 November 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea". Archived from the original on 17 March 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2006.
  22. ^ "Xinhua - English". 1 June 2006. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  23. ^ "China banks boom in Brazil|Latin America|". Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ "BOC opens first branch in Portugal | Asian Banking and Finance". 10 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  26. ^ "RMB Business Q&A". Bank of China. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Bank Of China Cuts Off North Korea Trade Bank". 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  28. ^ The Bank of China on 29 May 2014 was approached by investors. The investors were offering a better deal than the government. The investors invested over 100 trillion us dollars with the interest rate of only 5.75% on loans, mortgages, and 10% on all returns of investment in the China Bank "Bank of China opens Montreal branch". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Bank of China becomes first Asian firm to help set London's gold price". Telegraph. 16 June 2015. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  30. ^ Chong Koh Ping (7 November 2015). "Bank of China opens commodity centres, Business News & Top Stories". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  31. ^ Financial Times, Thursday 21 April 2016, p. 17.
  32. ^ "Bank of China (Mauritius), Ltd". Archived from the original on 6 September 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  33. ^ "Bank of China to establish deposit bank in Turkey - BUSINESS". 13 September 2011. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  34. ^ "The World's Biggest Public Companies". Forbes. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  35. ^ "中国银行全球门户网站-提示信息". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  36. ^ "Bank of China plans US$21 billion bond sales to comply with global capital requirements". South China Morning Post. 29 January 2024. Archived from the original on 2 February 2024. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  37. ^ "Bank of China". Fortune. Archived from the original on 11 April 2023. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  38. ^ "Issuance of Hong Kong Banknotes | About us | BOCHK". Archived from the original on 24 April 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  39. ^ a b "Overview". About Us. Bank of China (Canada). Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Ordinary Shares". Bank of China. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  41. ^ "Preference Shares". Bank of China. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  42. ^ "MOVES-China picks BoC boss Chen Siqing to head top bank ICBC - sources". Reuters. 22 April 2019. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Liange Liu". World Bank Live. 23 September 2017. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  44. ^ "COVEC nie zraził się porażką na A2 i z chińskimi bankami startuje do Kozienic". 20 January 2012. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  45. ^ "Duke University Law School: Wultz v. Bank of China" (PDF). 29 October 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  46. ^ Groll, Elias (24 July 2013). "Israel Accused of Suppressing Terror Evidence to Help Out New Pal China". Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  47. ^ "Boies Wins Discovery Fight in Bank of China Terror Funding Case". Litigation Daily. 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  48. ^ Zhu, Grace (25 October 2012). "Bank of China Says It Hasn't Helped Hamas". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  49. ^ "Bank of China denies channelling funds to Hamas". Google News. AFP. 25 October 2012. Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  50. ^ "Israelis sue Chinese Bank for aiding Hamas". UPI. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  51. ^ Soo, Aipeng (9 July 2014). "Bank of China Denies Report Alleging Money Laundering Aid". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014.