China’s Provinces Appoint Banking Execs as Vice-Governors in Bid for Financial Pre-eminence

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Domestic analysts say the recent trend of provincial governments appointing veteran banking execs to key political positions is part of competition to establish themselves as leading regional finance hubs.

At present at least 15 of China’s provincial vice-governors hail from backgrounds in the finance or banking sectors, with the month of September alone seeing the appointment of several key banking execs.

These included the appointments of:

  • Ge Haijiao (葛海蛟), head of China Everbright Bank, to the position of vice-governor of Hebei province;
  • Li Bo (李波), a senior member of the Chinese central bank, to the position of vice-mayor of Chongqing municipality (a province-level administrative entity);
  • Tan Jiong (谭炯), vice-president of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to the position of vice-governor of Guizhou province and
  • Wu Wei (吴伟), vice-president of Bank of Communications, as vice-governor of Shanxi province.

Domestic analysts say the appointments are significant of the increasing financialization of the Chinese economy, as well as intensifying competition between key provinces and municipalities to establish themselves as regional financial centres.

Chengdu and Chongqing both have ambitions to become the leading financial centre of western China, while Xiamen in Fujian provinces recently unveiled plans to establish itself as another financial hub on the eastern coast.

In 2018 China was host to 12 cities whose financial sectors brought added value in excess of 100 billion yuan.

Shanghai came in first with added value of 578.163 billion yuan, accounting for 17.69% of regional GDP, followed by Beijing (508.46 billion yuan and 16.8% of regional GDP); Shenzhen (306.721 billion yuan/ 12.7%), Guangzhou (207.946 billion yuan/ 9.1%) and Tianjin (196.689 billion yuan/ 10.46%).

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