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The Chinese banking sector showed strong growth last year despite the global economic downturn. Interest rate cuts, reduced reserve requirements and the massive $585B infrastructure focused program helped Chinese banks achieve high growth. It will be interesting to see if Chinese banks are able repeat this performance in 2010.

The Top 10 Chinese Banks based on Assets held as of Dec 31, 2008 are listed below:

S.No. Bank Total Assets (in Millions US$) as of Dec,2008
1 Industrial & Commerical Bank of China $1,427,610.00
2 China Construction Bank Corp $1,105,471.00
3 Agricultural Bank of China $1,026,300.00
4 Bank of China Limited $1,017,130.00
5 China Development Bank Corp $558,936.00
6 Bank of Communications Co Ltd $392,554.00
7 China Postal Savings Bank $326,362.00
8 China Merchants Bank Co Ltd $229,976.00
9 Agricultural Development Bank of China $198,205.00
10 Shanghai Pudong Development Bank $191,588.00

Source: BankScope

The top three banks are Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank Corp and Agricultural Bank of China. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the top ranked bank in the country. In the world ranking of banks, it comes in at number 17. It trades on the OTC market with ticker OTCPK:IDCBF. Currently ICBC offers a 2.90% dividend yield.

China Construction Bank Corp OTCPK:CICHF has a $20B market cap and has a 1.415 yield. In the 3rd quarter, net profits totaled 30.31 billion yuan ($4.4 billion), compared to 25.27 billion yuan a year earlier. Since the start of the year its loan book grew by 24%. Bank of America (BAC) owns 10% of CCB.

The post office run China Postal Savings Bank is ranked number seven on this list. In many countries such as Japan, India, etc., post offices offer savings banking facilities.

Related links:

Top Ten Banks of China 2007

China’s banks hit new heights: Top 50 Chinese Banks

Source: The Top 10 Chinese Banks by Assets