The following is picture I took at China Construction Bank in Shanghai (April 15, 2007)
I’m not picking on the China Construction Bank, this is a problem existing in all the banks. I can think of two reasons:
1) People are “managing their money” nowadays, e.g., people are withdrawing money from bank and put into the stock market; people are doing the certificate of deposit…
I started using online banking a few months ago because I want to check out the balance in my account (at the time I was in the US, there are no ATMs I can go check my balance). This is reletively simple at cmbchina, after you install an ActiveX control from the bank. Some open source guys are pretty upset about this but this is reality in China: Microsoft product is the de-facto standard.
These days the Chinese bank stocks are flying high. At the same time the competition also intensifies as the foreign bank are formally opening branches next Monday. The domestic players are raising fund through IPO: with the recent IPO of ICBC (601398.SS) and Bank of China (601988.SS); the new IPO of China Citic Bank, the “Haigui IPO” of Bank of Commincations (3328.HK) are on the horizon; some local commercial banks (used to be credit unions) are also preparing IPO, notably Bank of Nanjing, and Bank of Ningbo.
These days I saw more and more banks in Shanghai. Beside the addition of domestic banks such as Bank of Shanghai, which has root from Shanghai City Credit Union, many foreign banks such as Citi Bank opened branches and they also do the Ren Ming Bi business. Why suddenly we have so many banks? I remember 10 years ago we have the big four: ICBC, Bank of China (specialize in foreign currencies), Agriculture Bank and Construction Bank, plus Bank of Communcations, and the Cedit Unions I mentioned. Now it’s a total different ball game.