ICBC Continues to Dominate Discounted Bills Market, Drives Financing for Small Businesses

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China’s biggest bank in terms of assets continues to dominate the domestic market for discounted bills, as it strives to satisfy Beijing’s mandate to expand financing for Chinese small businesses.

As of 18 May Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) discounted bills had breached the 600 billion yuan (approx. USD$93.3 billion) threshold, with the big state-owned lender maintaining its leading market share.

ICBC said to domestic media that since the start of 2021 it had made use of its bills operations to play an active role in “targeted irrigation” of the real economy, with an especial focus on resolving the financing difficulties of Chinese small businesses.

The lender said it had expanded the vigour of its discounted bills operations to direct new financing towards the manufacturing sector, as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

In the first four months of the year ICBC provided nearly 230 billion yuan in discounted bills financing to the manufacturing sector, as well as nearly 360 billion yuan to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

ICBC said that it had made prompt adjustments to its discount rates in order to effectively reduce the financing costs of Chinese businesses.

The lender also highlighted the use of online channels and fintech to uncover new customers, with platforms such as “ICBC eDiscount” (工银e贴).

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