4 of the World's Top 10 Banks Are Now Chinese
"But if western banks have been turned upside down, in Asia, precisely the opposite has happened: they have been turned downside up. A year after the Lehman implosion, four of the world’s top 10 banks by market capitalisation are Chinese. This April, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China became the largest in the world by deposits, at about $1,300bn, surpassing JPMorgan Chase and Mitsubishi UFJ. (By assets, highly leveraged western banks are still bigger.) Compare this with 2006, when seven of the top 10 banks were western and the only Asian representatives were Japanese."
Asia Banks for a World Turned Upside Down, Financial Times, September 16, 2009 [Login may be required]
Of course, Chinese authorities have been stoking a credit bubble of their own this year with huge mandated lending targets. According to Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley:
"In the first six months of 2009, bank loans totaled Rmb7,400bn—three times the pace in the first half of 2008 and the strongest sixmonth lending surge on record... At the same time, the quality of Chinese bank lending most assuredly suffered from the rash of credit disbursements in the first half of this year—a trend that could sow the seeds for a new wave of nonperforming bank loans."
China Opts for Quantity Over Quality, Morgan Stanley, July 29, 2009
It remains to be seen how successfully Chinese banks will extricate themselves from that firetrap.