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The Development and Transformation of the People’s Republic of China’s Financial System


  • Tobin, Damian

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

  • Volz, Ulrich

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)


We look at the development and transformation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s financial system since the start of economic and financial reforms in 1978. We describe how despite the rapid development of capital markets since the 1990s, the PRC’s financial system continues to be dominated by bank lending. Reforms have not eliminated the credit expansion impetus of large commercial banks, while the effectiveness of capital-based constraints and administrative measures is far below potential. Large state-owned banks have become important players in bond and equity markets, as well as important sources of liquidity provision for smaller commercial banks and a range of non-bank financial institutions through a combination of inter-bank funding activities, wealth management products, and shadow banking/grey capital market activities. The importance of non-bank financial institutions has also continued to grow. Off-shore markets have increased the overseas holdings of financial assets, but their potential remains limited by capital controls and the fragility of the domestic financial system. An unintended consequence of this is that although the PRC’s state run financial system has become more complex and more interconnected domestically, foreign participation remains low.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobin, Damian & Volz, Ulrich, 2018. "The Development and Transformation of the People’s Republic of China’s Financial System," ADBI Working Papers 825, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0825

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allen, Franklin & Qian, Jun & Qian, Meijun, 2005. "Law, finance, and economic growth in China," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 57-116, July.
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    7. Kellee Tsai, 2015. "Financing Small and Medium Enterprises in China: Recent Trends and Prospects beyond Shadow Banking," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2015-24, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised May 2015.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wei Yin & Berna Kirkulak-Uludag & Kent Matthews, 2020. "Financialization, religion, and social trust in rural China," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(10), pages 1-18, October.
    2. Yang, Jian & Yu, Ziliang & Ma, Jun, 2019. "China's financial network with international spillovers: A first look," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).

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    More about this item


    China; financial markets; financial institutions; economic transformation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P34 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Finance

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