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The Opening-up of the Banking System
In the past 20-odd years, China’s financial institutions have opened wider to the outside world in a steady way, and have approved the founding of a whole body of foreign-funded and Chinese-foreign jointly run financial institutions in the special economic zones, coastal open cities and inland central cities, thus expanding the Renminbi business experiments of the foreign-funded banks. At present, 23 cities and Hainan Province in China have foreign-funded operating financial institutions, totaling 190. In August 1998, the experimental Renminbi business areas of the foreign-funded banks expanded from Shanghai to Shenzhen. In March 1999, foreign-funded banks were allowed to set up branches in all the central cities within the Chinese territory. In 2001, there were 31 foreign-funded banks handling Renminbi business. Starting from 2002, China will open up a certain number of cities each year where foreign-funded banks are allowed to handle Renminbi business. In five years, there will not be any regional limitation on foreign-funded banks’ handling Renminbi business in China.

Meanwhile all the commercial banks in China have set up branches in foreign countries, and started international credit business. The Bank of China ranks first in the number and scale of overseas outlets. In 1980, China resumed its membership of the World Bank, and returned to the International Monetary Fund. In 1984, China started business contacts with the Bank for International Settlements; in 1985, China formally joined the African Development Bank; and in 1986, China formally became a member of the Asian Development Bank.

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