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Big State-owned Lenders Top Credit Card Issuance

The big state-owned banks continue to dominate the Chinese credit card market, despite faster issuance growth amongst commercial lenders.

The 2016 annual reports for a total of 11 nation-wide Chinese banks indicate that state-owned lenders continue to dwarf their commercial joint-stock rivals last year when it comes to credit card operations, for metrics including card issuance, transaction amounts, as well as credit card balances.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s biggest bank, was far and away the biggest credit card issuer in 2016, having supplied Chinese borrowers with a total of 120 million for year-on-year growth of 10.1%.

ICBC’s also had the largest credit card balance by the end of last year, with 7.76% growth pushing the total to 452 billion yuan.

China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China had 94.07 million and 68.63 million active credits cards by the end of 2016, for gains of 16.51% and 17.56% respectively.

CCB’s credit card balance was 44.72 billion yuan as of the end of 2016, for year-on-year growth of 13.07%.

Bank of China had a total of 59.34 million credit cards in circulation last year for year-on-year growth of 11.35%, while Bank of Communications had 50.54 million, for growth of 16.87%.

While joint-stock commercial banks have far fewer credit cards in circulation than the big state-owned lenders, their growth rates are far higher due to the lower baseline.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank had issued a total of 27.58 million active credit cards by the end of 2016, for growth across the year of 138.61%. It also issued the greatest number of new credit cards in China last year, supplying a further 16 million to domestic borrowers.

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