Bank of China Limited
Native name
中国银行股份有限公司
Company typePublic
State-owned
ISIN
IndustryFinancial services
Founded1905 (as Da-Qing Bank)
1912 (as Bank of China)
1979 (re-established)
FounderChen Jintao
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
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)
Subsidiaries
Capital ratio16.91% (2021)[5]
RatingA, A-1, Stable (S&P)
A1, P-1, Stable (Moody's)
A, F1+, Stable (Fitch)[6]
Websiteboc.cn
bankofchina.com
bank-of-china.com
bocusa.com
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
Chinese中行

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.

History

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

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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]

Canada

Bank of China (Canada)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryBank
PredecessorBank of China Toronto Representative Office
Founded18 May 1993[39]
Headquarters
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
Websitewww.bankofchina.com/ca
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]

Banknotes

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.

Ownership

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]

Leadership

Controversies

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

References

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