China’s big six state-owned banks significantly reduced their bricks-and-mortar outlets last year amidst broader efforts by the Chinese financial sector to step up digitisation and fintech adoption.
A study from Securities Daily found that Agricultural Bank of China (BOC), Bank of China (BOC), Bank of Communications (BOCOM), China Construction Bank (CCB), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Postal Savings Bank of China (PSB) shed a total of 836 branch outlets in 2019.
ABC reduced its branches by 232 in 2019 to 23,149 in total, while BOC cut branches by 67 to 14,879.
The reduction arrives following widespread digitisation and fintech adoption efforts, and a push for the creation of “smart” outlets via the use of 5G technology.
As of the end of 2019 ABC had converted a total of 22,000 of their existing outlets into “smart outlets,” as compared to 11,000 at the end of 2018.