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Banking in Modern China


  • 16 b/w illus. 43 tables
  • Page extent: 296 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.44 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521032766)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published January 2007

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 09:10 GMT, 01 December 2015)


This book documents the evolution of modern Chinese banking, from the establishment in 1897 of the first Chinese bank along a Western model, to the abrupt interruption of professional banking by the Japanese invasion in 1937. Drawing from original documents of major Chinese banks, Linsun Cheng explains how and why the banks were able, despite a succession of foreign and domestic crises, to grow into viable and self-sustaining institutions in China. Rich with historical detail, this book offers a comprehensive narrative of the origins and growth of professional banks. This book provides a critical part in the literature on China's economic history and modernization in the pre-war period. Cheng also recounts early experiences with Chinese banking reform that resonate today as useful lessons to Chinese policymakers assessing options for financial reform.

• The first English-language book on the subject • Provides an approach to a controversial issue • Supported by a wealth of original documents


List of tables and figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The coming of a new force (1897–1911); 2. Expansion, concentration and privatization (1912–27); 3. The 'golden age' and its sudden end (1927–37); 4. Government debts and modern banks; 5. Traditions and innovations I; 6. Traditions and innovations II; 7. Modern enterprises, professional managers and the entrepreneurs with Chinese characteristics; 8. Conclusion; Appendixes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.


'Linsun Cheng's Banking in Modern China is certainly the best study of modern Chinese banking to appear in English. With unprecedented access to archival sources in China, and thorough use of sources in the West including the Columbia University oral histories, Cheng's work is definitive. … At a time when China faces a major crisis in reforming its banking system, this work is essential reading for students of modern Chinese history and political economy.' Parks Coble, University of Nebraska

'This is the first comprehensive and detailed history of China's modern banking written in the past sixty years and the only one ever solidly based on the banks' own records. Professor Cheng has attacked the long-standing thesis that China's modern banks were mere tools for government financing. In his characterization, modern Chinese bankers became nothing less than full-fledged professionals - 'entrepreneurs with Chinese characteristics' - and they transformed Shanghai's entire financial market. His Shanghai-centred approach will undoubtedly stimulate research on banking in other cities and towns, and his extraordinary command of Chinese archival sources has set an exalted standard by which to judge all future work on the history of banks and other businesses.' Sherman Cochran, Cornell University

'Until this book, interpretation of why modern banks were among the most successful economic institutions in early-twentieth-century China have rested on sparse information. This comprehensive study examines the banks' role in the economy, their relation to the government debt, the process of acculturating Western business and management practices, and the question of Chinese entrepreneurship. It attributes the modern banks' ability to grow in an unstable political and economic environment to innovative business practices and sound professional management and rejects the argument attributing their success to twentieth-century Chinese economic and business history as well as a significant contribution to the general field of banking history.' Andrea McElderry, University of Louisville

'… stimulating and essential reading …' The Economic History Review

'… Cheng offers a concise and yet detailed survey of the transition from traditional to modern banking institutions … Scholars interested in Chinese financial, economic, and business history will gain valuable insights from this study that rehabilitates the achievements of the Chinese modern banking sector before the Japanese invasion.' Journal of the China Quarterly

'A product of meticulous research using primary Chinese and English language sources, Cheng's study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the rise of banking in modern China.' Enterprise and Society

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