Bank of China was formally established in February 1912 following the approval of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. From 1912 to 1949, the Bank served consecutively as the countrys central bank, international exchange bank and specialised international trade bank. Fulfilling its commitment to serving the public and developing Chinas financial services sector, the Bank rose to a leading position in the Chinese financial industry and developed a good standing in the international financial community, despite many hardships and setbacks. After 1949, drawing on its long history as the state-designated specialised foreign exchange and trade bank, the Bank became responsible for managing Chinas foreign exchange operations and provided vital support to the nations foreign trade development and economic infrastructure by its offering of international trade settlement, overseas fund transfer.
Bank of China(Chinese: 中国银行; pinyin: Zhōngguó Yínháng; often abbreviated as 中行or BOC) is one of the four biggest state-owned commercial banks in China. Bank of China is legally separate from its subsidiary Bank of China (Hong Kong), although they maintain close relations in management and administration and co-operate in several areas including reselling BOC's insurance and securities services.
It was founded in 1912 by the Republican government to replace the Daqing Bank. It is the oldest bank in mainland China still in existence. From its establishment until 1942, it issued banknotes on behalf of the Government along with the "Big Four" banks of the period: The Farmers Bank of China, Bank of Communications and Central Bank of the Republic of China. Its headquarters are in Xicheng District, Beijing.
As of 31 December 2009, it was the second largest lender in China overall, and the 5th largest bank in the world by market capitalization value.
Bank of China Headquarters, Beijing, China. Architecture by I. M. Pei.
Daqing Bank's Dalian Branch (1910), now Dalian branch of China CITIC Bank
The Bank of China's history began in 1905, when the Qing government established Daqing Hubu Bank (大清户部銀行) in Beijing, which was in 1908 renamed to Daqing Bank (大清銀行). When the Republic of China was established in 1912, it was further renamed as Bank of China by President Sun Yat-sen's government, adding a new role of the central bank.
After the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949, the Bank of China effectively split into two operations. Part of the bank relocated to Taiwan with the Kuomintang (KMT) government and was privatised in 1971 to become the International Commercial Bank of China (中國國際商業銀行). In 2002, it merged with Chiao Tung Bank (交通銀行) to become the Mega International Commercial Bank. The Mainland operation is the current entity known as the Bank of China.
It is the second largest lender in China overall, and the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalization value. 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.
It is the most globally-active of China's banks, with branches on every inhabited continent. Outside of mainland China, BOC also operates 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. In December 2010, the Bank of China New York branch began offering renminbi products for Americans. It was the first major Chinese bank to offer such a product.
Although it is present in the above countries/territories, its operations outside China accounted for less than 4% of the activity of the bank by both profits and assets. Mainland China accounts for 60% of the bank by profits and 76% by assets as at December 2005.
Timeline of overseas activities
- 1917:BOC opened a branch in Hong Kong.
- 1929:BOC opened its first overseas branch in London. 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.
- 1931:BOC opened a branch in Osaka.
- 1936:BOC opened a branch in Singapore to handle remittances to China of overseas Chinese. It also opened an agency in New York.
- 1937:On the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, Japanese forces blockaded China's major ports. BOC 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, Xiaobo, Batu Pahat, Baichilu, Mandalay, Lashio, Ipoh, and Seremban.
- 1941-1942:The Japanese conquest of Southeast Asia forced BOC to close all overseas its branches, agencies, sub-branches and sub-agencies, except London, New York, Calcutta, and Bombay. Nevertheless, in 1942, it manages to set up six new overseas branches, such as in Sydney, (Australia), Liverpool, and Havana, and possibly Karachi.
- 1946:BOC 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.
- 1947: BOC opened agencies in Bangkok, Chittagong, and Tokyo.
- 1950:After victory of Communist forces in the civil war, some branches (ex. Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Calcutta, Bombay, Chittagong, and Karachi) of Bank of China joined the bank headquartered in Beijing, while others (ex. New York, Tokyo, Havana, Bangkok, and one other, possibly Panama) opted to remain with the Bank of China headquartered in Taipei. In 1971, this bank took the name International Commercial Bank of China.
- 1963:The Burmese government nationalized all banks, foreign and domestic, including the Bank of China's Rangoon branch.
- 1971:The Bank of China transferred its two branches in Karachi and Chittagong to the National Bank of Pakistan.
- 1975: The Republic of South Vietnam nationalized the Bank of China's branch in Saigon and the Khmer Rouge government nationalized its Phnom Penh branch.
- 1979:BOC opened a branch in Luxembourg, which gradually became its European headquarters through the 1990s.
- 1981:BOC opened a branch in New York.
- 1985:BOC opened a branch in Paris (France)
- 1987:BOC became an ordinary member of the LBMA.
- 1992:BOC opens a representative office in Toronto.
- 1993:Bank of China (Canada) established to conduct business in Canada as a Schedule II bank.
- 2001:Kwangtung Provincial Bank was closed and merged under Bank of China, Singapore Branch.
- 2002:Bank of China Futures Pte Ltd wound up operations in Singapore.
- 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 Pte. Ltd (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.
- 2006:BOC's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on June 1, 2006 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 June 7, 2006, raising the total value of their IPO to US$11.2 billion. BOC also made a successful IPO in mainland China on July 5, 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.
- 2008:Bank of China buys a 20 percent stake in La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild (LCFR) for 236.3 million euros (US$340 million)
- 2001-2007:Massive staff layoffs and paycuts in BOC Singapore Branch, culminating in 2007 with branch head Zhu Hua being asked to leave by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for his poor performance. He was replaced by Liu Yan Fen.
- 2008: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.
- 2009:Opened branches in São Paulo and Maputo. Penang branch reopened in October. People's Park Remittance Centre opened in Singapore. Sunday Banking Business ceased in Chinatown Sub-branch in Singapore.
- 2012:BOC opened branch in Taiwan. The opening is seen as a symbol of deepening economic ties across Taiwan Strait Bank of China (M) Bhd opened its 6th branch in Malaysia at Tower 2, PFCC, Bandar Puteri Puchong in 2012.
- 2013:BOC opened a branch in Lisbon, Portugal. During the 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. 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.
- 2015:BOC gained entry to the London Bullion Market Association gold price auction. At the time, it was one of eight members to the auction.
- 2015: Opened two global commodity centres in Singapore, becoming the first Chinese bank to do so outside China.
- 2016:BoC has just (April 2016) received permission to open a branch in Brunei.
- 2017:BoC has just (January 2016) received permission to operate a deposit bank in Turkey.
- 2017: In October 2017, BoC commences its first branch of Pakistan Operations in Karachi, Pakistan.
- 2018: Launching Online Investment Banking Services available worldwide
- 2019:Expanding official branches to all the developed countries worldwide
- 2025:Expanding official branches to all developing countries worldwide
Bank of China in Hong Kong:
BOC started operations in Hong Kong in 1917 and has become a major player there. It became a note-issuing bank in Hong Kong in 1994, and in Macau in 1995.
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.
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 June 1, 2006, raising US$9.7 billion. The IPO attracted HK$286 billion (USD 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.
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.
- It has over RMB6,951.68 billion in assets, making it part of the Fortune Global 500 for the past 17 years.
- It is the second largest lender in China overall, the largest lender to non-institutions, and the largest foreign exchange lender (the largest lender in China is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China).
- All overseas branches are only affiliated with Bank of China branches in China. That means that if you deposit money in a China branch, you cannot access your money in overseas branches.
- Bank of China, New York internet banking is available for US dollar accounts and online access to stop payments, wire transfers and remittances. Great Wall debit MasterCard is available to account holders.
- Bank of China, New York has two locations: 410 Madison (open Monday - Friday) and 42 East Broadway (open seven days). It also operates as a functional 24/7 clearinghouse for wire transfers and stop payments (allowing real time payments to China).
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:
- China Central Huijin (an investment arm of the government of the People's Republic of China): 64.63% (A shares)
- HKSCC Nominees Limited (nominee account): 27.78% (H shares)
- China Securities Finance (state-owned legal person): 2.90% (A shares)
- As of 30 September 2015, largest shareholders of the Bank of China preference shares (both domestic and offshore) were:
- The Bank of New York Mellon (custodian bank): 39.96% (offshore)
- China Mobile Communications: 18.01% (domestic)
- China National Tobacco Corporation: 5.00% (domestic)
- Zhongwei Real Estate: 3.00% (domestic)
2018 Investment Banking Project:
Since the beginning of the year, the Bank of China has decided to launch an Online Investment Banking Program. The project was taken seriously and the official website has been established to serve the purpose of safe and long-term investments with the support of cryptocurrencies as the payment gateways. The project is guaranteed with $250 billion in bank reserved in order to ensure that all investors will be able to receive profits and the bank asset flows safely.