China Construction Bank (CCB), the Hong Kong-listed lender, has been named as the top bank in China, according to a bank rating report released yesterday.
The report into the top 100 Chinese banks was published by The Banker, a British magazine renowned for its annual publication that rates the Top 1,000 global banks.
Indicators such as assets, pre-tax profits and the capital asset ratio were used to assess and rate the banks, according to the magazine.
The top slots in the listing are all occupied by the country's giant State-owned banks.
Bank of China, which raised US$11.2 billion in the world's largest initial public offering in six years earlier this month, was ranked second.
It was followed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is expected to go public later this year.
Agricultural Bank of China, which is currently undergoing restructuring and also planning a listing, came in fourth place.
This is the first time that The Banker has published a list of top banks in China, a fact that the magazine said demonstrates the country's growing financial sophistication.
"We hope this listing provides a truly comprehensive picture of China's banking industry," said Stephen Timewell, editor-in-chief of The Banker.
"It will help the outside world know what is happening in China's banking industry and help Chinese banks receive broad recognition worldwide."
The second-largest group of banks in the Top 100 list are 12 joint-stock commercial banks, led by Bank of Communications, which comes in fifth place.
The third-largest group is a cluster of city commercial banks, which, headed by Bank of Beijing, occupy 65 places on the list.
"The picture may change and the balance may shift in the years to come," said Timewell, referring to the current make-up of the list.
The rating may provide clues for foreign banks over their possible forays into the Chinese banking industry.
"It (the listing) can serve as a valuable reference for foreign banks eyeing the Chinese banking sector," said Gong Yingxin, a representative of Germany's DZ Bank AG Beijing office.
"For foreign banks that are seeking potential partners among those lesser-known city commercial banks, the listing could do them a great service," she said.
But some are sceptical about the accuracy of the rating report.
"The issue date for financial data used by the magazine is not uniform, which may impair the accuracy of the rating," said an official from Huai'an City Commercial Bank, which was ranked 98.
There is only one foreign bank in the list BNP Paribas (China), a French bank, which came in at number 60.
(China Daily June 14, 2006)